VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- The final sentence for the woman involved in the deadly neglect case happened Friday morning.
Tiffany Daugherty was charged with neglect of a dependent and reckless homicide. That's after her 5-year-old daughter died from starvation and pneumonia in January of 2016.
Emotions were high in the courtroom Friday as Judge John Roach decided her fate. He sentenced her to 21 years behind bars.
That is the maximum amount of years the state offered in this case.
As the judge explained his reasoning, sobs and sniffles could be heard throughout the courtroom.
"She could feel love, security and happiness. She could also feel pain," Judge Roach said. "She was looking for you. You were her world."
Judge Roach said that Daugherty must serve a minimum of 15 years in the Department of Corrections. Then, depending on how things go, if she completes the substance abuse and PTSD classes, he might consider changing her placement for five of those years. The last 6 years are meant to be spent on probation.
Vigo County Prosecutor, Terry Modesitt says cases like this do happen but they normally are few and far between. He also explained how it's difficult to charge someone in these kinds of cases.
"It's hard trying to sort through all of the medical parts to a case like this," Modesitt said. "In this case, the child had been to a doctor just a very short time prior to the death and the doctor did not report anything to DCS, did not show anything in his notes of anything way out of the ordinary."
Modesitt said even though the crime resulted in a death, Daugherty couldn't just be charged with a murder. He said there are specific things that need to happen for it to be considered and tried as murder.
He also said this case was even more difficult because the child had disabilities prior to the neglect. He said it was hard to decide how much the prior health issues contributed to the death.
During the sentencing Judge Roach said no matter how many times he sees a case like this, it never gets any easier.
You can help lower the number of cases like this that lead to death. Modesitt says if you know of any abuse taking place you can, and should, report it to the Department of Child Services. You can do that on their website here.