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Foster mother indicted in baby’s death

Woman charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct

POSTED: December 4, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A Jackson County woman who left a 9-month-old foster child unattended in a car has been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

Piedmont Judicial Circuit District Attorney Rick Bridgeman on Wednesday announced the indictment against 29-year-old Wendy Osbourne of Nicholson in the Sept. 2 death of baby Jessica Scovil from heat exposure.

Authorities said Osbourne accidentally left the child inside a locked minivan outside her home during the afternoon and went inside the home, where she fell asleep. After two hours, she realized the child was still in the car and found her unresponsive, officials said. The baby died from a heat stroke.

The child had been placed in Osbourne’s custody after it was taken from the home of its birth parents earlier in the year by the state Division of Family and Children Services for alleged neglect.

The two-count indictment returned by a Jackson County grand jury on Monday alleges that Osbourne "did cause the death of Jessica Scovil, a human being, without any intention to do so, by the commission of the unlawful act of reckless conduct."

The indictment also alleges that Osbourne "did endanger the bodily safety of a another person ... by consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that her act, to wit: leaving said child in a motor vehicle without supervision or ventilation, would endanger the safety of said child."

Involuntary manslaughter, a felony, carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison. Reckless conduct is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

Osbourne will be arraigned in Jackson County Superior Court on Dec 11.


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