Couple admit not seeking timely treatment before boy's death

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe
The Joplin (Mo.) Globe

CASSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Verona woman and her boyfriend acknowledged in plea deals this week that they did not seek medical treatment in a timely manner for her 3-year-old son before he died.

Sarah L. Garbee, 27, of Verona, was scheduled to go to trial Monday on a felony child abuse charge. Instead, she pleaded guilty to first-degree child endangerment. The plea deal calls for a seven-year sentence with a court review after 120 days for possible probation. 

Garbee's boyfriend, Caleb Williams, who also was charged with child abuse, entered an Alford plea Monday to two felony counts of endangerment. The deal calls for him to serve consecutive prison terms of three years and five years. 

They will both be sentenced July 20.

The couple told investigators the boy first became sick on July 16, 2019, and had a temperature for a week but they didn't think the illness was serious. His condition worsened on July 23 but he became unresponsive on the way to the hospital and died on July 24, 2019, The Joplin Globe reported.

An autopsy determined that the child died of blunt force trauma to his abdomen that ruptured his small intestine, leading to peritonitis.