By Shereen Siewert
A Wausau babysitter convicted of homicide charges in connection with the death of a 2-month-old boy in her care was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison.
Marissa Tietsort, 31, initially faced charges of first-degree intentional homicide in the boy’s death, which happened in October 2018. Police say the boy was dead when Tietsort put him in a snowsuit and car seat and returned him to his mother — without telling her the child had died. In November, Tietsort was convicted of a reduced charge of first-degree reckless homicide as part of a plea agreement. During the same hearing she was also convicted of child abuse-intentionally causing harm, a charge filed in a separate case filed months earlier involving another baby for whom she was caring.
During a competency hearing in September, Tietsort changed her plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. But on Oct. 28, her attorney withdrew the insanity plea in the case, paving the way for a jury trial. The trial was set to begin Nov. 29 but was averted when a plea deal was reached.
Court filings show Tietsort had four of her own children removed from her care and is linked to at least two prior reports of suspected child abuse, one of which involved a 3-month-old girl who suffered a fractured skull. Tietsort and her boyfriend both denied harming the child but later refused to answer phone calls from detectives, according to the police report. Official charges were never filed.
In addition, a child abuse restraining order was filed against Tietsort in 2010 after allegations surfaced that she left her own child in a hot car on multiple occasions and stole prescription drugs from a friend.
During a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson ordered Tietsort to spend 37 years in prison on the homicide charge and three years in prison for child abuse. Those sentences will be served consecutively.
In addition to her prison term, Tietsort will also spend 20 years on extended supervision following her eventual release. She was ordered to have no contact with the families of the victims and no contact with children younger than 18. Judge Jacobson also ordered Tietsort not to provide any child care, or care to vulnerable adults.
She will be required to undergo a psychological assessment and pay $4,620 in restitution, court records show.