BELMONT, Wis. — A Belmont woman accused of so severely neglecting her infant children that one nearly died and both likely suffer permanent physical and development defects has taken a plea deal.
Jamie L. Weigel, 26, this week pleaded guilty in Lafayette County Circuit Court to child abuse-intentionally causing great bodily harm and chronic neglect of a child, according to online court records. Each charge is a felony.
Terms of the plea deal weren’t immediately available, but Wisconsin law allows for a sentence of up to 40 years in prison. An additional charge of chronic neglect of a child and a charge of child abuse-intentionally cause harm were dropped.
Her sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 10.
Also charged in the case is Weigel’s fiancee, Dalton A. Hopper, 25, who faces four felony neglect and abuse charges. He is set to appear for a plea hearing Oct. 21.
Authorities in March were called to Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville to investigate a report of neglect, according to court documents. Weigel and Hopper had brought their then-4-month-old daughter in to be checked for “excessive vomiting.”
Doctors determined she had extreme diaper rash and bed sores. They also concluded she “could have died from malnutrition in as little as a week’s time since (her) body has used up the majority of fatty and muscle tissues and was going to start feeding on its own organs,” court documents stated.
The girl weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces — less than her birth weight of 6 pounds, 9 ounces.
Investigators discovered that the girl and her sister were kept in a room where they were left alone for the majority of the day. The girl’s 1-year-old sister also was severely underweight and suffers “significant developmental delays,” according to court documents.
Weigel allegedly admitted that though she had access to formula and supplies, she wasn’t feeding her daughter regularly.
“Jamie stated she has had no desire to take care of (the girls) or (herself) since January,” authorities wrote.