The mother of 4-year-old Emma Thompson, the Spring girl who died last year after suffering a severed pancreas and fractured skull, was found guilty of reckless and serious bodily injury to a child by omission by a Houston jury Monday.
Abigail Young could face two to 20 years in prison for the crime. The sentencing phase will begin Tuesday. Jurors rejected a more serious charge of injury to a child by omission, which could have sent her to prison for life.
Emma died at a Woodlands hospital on June 27, 2009. An autopsy showed she had "80 contusions, a severe head laceration, scalp hemorrhaging, a skull fracture, internal bleeding and a severe tear and hemorrhaging to the vagina."
The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the abdominal area, which caused several internal injuries.
Investigators also said the girl had genital herpes when she died. Young’s former boyfriend, Lucas Coe, is accused of raping Emma.
Initially, Young told investigators Emma hurt herself when she fell out of bed.
CPS began investigating the family in early June of 2009 after Emma’s dad called, saying she was covered in bruises. Her pediatrician had also contacted CPS, because he suspected blisters in her mouth and genital area were caused by genital herpes.
But an exam at Texas Children’s Hospital found no evidence of sexual abuse, and CPS did not remove her from the home.
Weeks later, she was dead.
Because of Emma’s case, CPS decided to use more aggressive procedures when investigating allegations of abuse in children with sexually transmitted diseases.
Emma’s two sisters were placed with grandparents after her death.
Coe, who faces trial in September on charges of aggravated sexual assault and injury to a child, had been investigated by CPS prior to Emma’s case.
CPS investigated him three times in unrelated cases involving another girlfriend’s child.
His criminal history includes charges of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief.
If convicted, he could get life in prison.
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