Kansas mother beats 2-year-old son to death for refusing to eat hot dog, gets 19 years in jail
Elizabeth Woolheater, 24, who hails from Wichita was sentenced on Friday for the murder of her two-year-old son Antony 'Tony' Bunn
WICHITA, KANSAS: A woman who beat her son to death after he refused to eat a hot dog has been sentenced to around 19 years in jail.
24-year-old Elizabeth Woolheater from Wichita was sentenced on Friday for the murder of her 2-year-old son Antony 'Tony' Bunn. The toddler was found unconscious by cops when they arrived at the home in Riverside neighborhood on May 6, 2018. Two days later, Tony passed away.
When Elizabeth was questioned by the authorities, she told them that she lost it when he refused to eat the hot dog that she had given him for breakfast.
Judge Jeff Syrios said the mother will be spending 233 months in prison and added, "Neither the rule of law nor the community tolerates this kind of harm done to our children. Tony was under your charge. And your job was to raise him and protect him," according to the Wichita Eagle.
Elizabeth pleaded guilty to second-degree murder along with two counts of child abuse. She is currently sentenced to 19 years and five months in prison.
Speaking about what happened on the fateful day, Elizabeth said she hit little Tony while her boyfriend Lucas Diel held the food in the toddler's mouth. She added that after she stopped hitting her son, Lucas continued to hit him even after she left the room.
But Lucas, on the other hand, denied hitting Tony and stated that he fell out of the bed. Lucas is now sentenced to 49 years in jail for second-degree murder.
Talking in court, Elizabeth said, "I know that I’ll never be able to make up for or undo the mistakes I made. I know that I failed my son when he needed me. I do want it to be known that I did love Tony—and I still do—with all my heart."
According to DailyMail, Tony's grandfather Zak Woolheater called Lucas a monster. He also recalled the traumatizing experience of sitting next to his drying grandson in the hospital. "We couldn't believe it was real life. Our lives have been very hard since that day," Zak said.
In October 2017, the state Department for Children and Families was called after Tony's grandmothers took the kid to a Wichita emergency room after they discovered bruises on his head and back. The agency shared that the medical exams done on Tony previously did not reveal any injuries or findings that he was abused.
District Attorney Marc Bennett revealed that they did not have sufficient evidence at that particular time to file criminal charges.
After the toddler's death, the head Kansas Department of Children and Families came to an understanding that the agency wasn't fulfilling its duties and revealed a slew of personnel changes.