elizabeth escalonaA few months ago we reported on the mom who glued her daughter's hands to the wall when she became frustrated with potty training her. While I definitely empathize with the challenges of potty training, this clearly crossed the line to outright abuse. Obviously there was not going to be a happy ending to this story. Worse than the glue, which is a headline-grabbing novelty, the mom's beating left her daughter in a coma. Now the mom, Elizabeth Escalona, could face life in prison.

Elizabeth was supposed to be sentenced this week, but the sentence was deferred until Tuesday. She already pleaded guilty to injury to a child in July, which definitely helped move this case along to its conclusion. At the time, though, Elizabeth sounded a little defiant. "Only God can judge me. That's all I gotta say." Well, an earthly judge will have something to say pretty soon. And the prosecution is asking for a 45-year prison sentence.

Elizabeth's daughter Joselyn Cedillo's coma lasted for two days, and she spent a week in the hospital after that. In court this week, photos of the girl's bruised body were shown. Apparently they were so awful they brought Dr. Amy Barton, the former pediatrician who treated Joselyn, to tears. "This was one of the most shocking cases I've seen," she said. And it's her professional opinion that the girl would have died from her injuries if she hadn't been taken to the hospital when she was.

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I guess that's what makes this incident of child abuse punishable by a life sentence. When you just look at the headlines -- "Mom who glued daughter's hands to wall could get life in prison" -- it looks absurd. Gluing sounds insane, but definitely not lethal. But once you get the full picture, that the mom nearly killed her daughter by beating her, that 45-year sentence makes more sense. We'll find out if the judge agrees next week.

Elizabeth has since said that "I'll never forgive myself for what I did to my daughter." She also says, "I'm not a monster." And of course she isn't. That's what makes every case of abuse so heartbreaking. A monster can't help what it's doing. A human being can -- but makes the wrong choice anyway. And that's why I hate ever saying someone who makes a horrible, tragic choice a "monster." I feel like it's letting them off too easy.

Whatever happens, I just can't help wondering what could have been done months earlier to prevent this whole horrible, tragic incident from occurring in the first place.

Do you think 45 years in prison is a just punishment for this crime?

 

Image via Dallas County Sheriff's Office