Yesterday 44-year-old Elisha Pankey remained silent in the court room as the maximum sentence possible was handed down to her in the July 2018 death of her 7-year-old son Caden McWilliams.
His body was found encased in concrete inside of a dog carrier in December 2018 when police searched a storage unit after responding to a domestic disturbance call and being unable to get an answer concerning Caden's whereabouts.
Pankey has been sentenced to 32 years in prison and five years on parole after she had accepted a plea deal that involved her pleading guilty to a felony charge of child abuse resulting in the death of a child. Caden's extended family had requested the maximum sentence.
It is very likely though, that Pankey will spend much less than 32 years in prison however.
“Unlike Caden, you do have a life in front of you and I hope it will be something that will turn into a positive given what has happened that has been so horrible in the past,”Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones said according to the Denver Post.
In February, Caden's father, 40-year-old Leland Pankey was sentenced to 72 years after pleading guilty to guilty to child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a body.
A charge of murder was dropped from the case due to the medical examiner's inability to determine a clear cause of death. They determined that Caden had traces of both methamphetamine and cocaine in his body and that he had suffered from abuse due to a fractured skull and arm. Additionally, he was reported as being emaciated, weighing only 27 pounds.
During Leland's sentencing hearing, family members and lawyers described an abusive relationship that left Elisha in fear and either unable or unwilling to stop the abuse to her son.
During her sentencing, her attorney told the court that his client took full responsibility for her role in Caden's death, and that “It was the perfect storm of constant domestic violence, mental health issues and drug addiction.”