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Woman pleads guilty in death of baby

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — A Chester woman has pleaded guilty to causing the death of her 3-month-old child by rolling on top of her during a drug-induced stupor.

Kace Lee Shmigal, 31, of Chester, was arrested in late July after turning herself in to police in connection to an incident on July 11, when police were informed that the infant child had been brought to Wheeling Hospital from a residence in Benwood. The baby was unresponsive, and was later flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where it was determined that she had suffered ligament damage to her neck and bleeding in the brain. Medical examiners determined that the child had been deprived of oxygen before dying July 29.

Shmigal appeared before Circuit Judge Jeff Cramer Friday morning to plead guilty to an information against her, charging her with child neglect resulting in death. She was sentenced to the mandatory sentence of three to 15 years in prison, with credit for time served; she had not bonded out of the Northern Regional Jail at the time of her hearing. Upon her release, she will be made to register on the child abuse registry. Shmigal was represented by attorney Robert McCoid.

Assistant Prosecutor Jodie Gardill said video surveillance footage from inside the home saw Shmigal taking drugs in one room of the residence, and that she had told hospital workers that the baby’s injuries were due to her having rolled onto the child.

“She very clearly shoots up in the room with the child, the child was awake and moving,” Gardill said. “”She shoots up, and then ingests a powdery substance, it appears, through a straw in her nose. One of the individuals in the home admitted that he sold her Xanax.

“You can see her fading in and out, and at some point passes out on the bed. Later … she told medical personnel she woke up on the child. The children’s hospital said the child’s injuries were caused completely by lack of oxygen due to suffocation,” she added.

Police records of Shmigal’s arrest indicate that after being awoken by a man walking into the room, Shmigal stopped to gather her belongings before leaving with the infant tossed over her arm. The following day, while the child was hospitalized, she called her friend back to ask for more drugs.

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