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Published: Saturday, 10/2/2004

Dead girl's parents sentenced for neglect

TIFFIN - The parents of a 4-month-old Tiffin girl who died in January were both sentenced yesterday to six months in jail for neglecting her.

Jennifer Elchert, 26, earlier was convicted of endangering children, and Kenneth J. Elchert, Sr., 43, was found guilty of complicity to endangering children in the Jan. 7 death of Kaleigha Elchert.

Judge Michael Kelbley of Seneca County Common Pleas Court gave both parents the maximum sentence for the first-degree misdemeanor convictions.

County Prosecutor Ken Egbert, Jr., said the Elcherts put their daughter at risk by disconnecting a sleep apnea monitor against doctor's orders. The girl was found dead by paramedics responding to a 911 call from the Elcherts' home on East County Road 16.

The Lucas County coroner's office ruled that the cause of death was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Judge Kelbley agreed to Mr. Egbert's request to have Jennifer Elchert serve her six-month term consecutive to a 17-month prison sentence reimposed for violating probation in a previous case. In 2001, she had been convicted of attempted endangering children for injuring another child in her home.

Mr. Egbert said Kenneth Elchert has a prior conviction for gross sexual imposition for sexually abusing a child.

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