McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

September 5, 2013

Mother sentenced to 20 years in child abuse case

By Jeanne LeFlore

McALESTER — A mother was sentenced to 20 years, with half of that suspended, for watching as her boyfriend allegedly beat her 8-week-old baby girl, according to allegations in court documents.

The baby is now 6 months old and remains on life support, officials say.

Cassie Ragan, 29, of McAlester, pleaded guilty on Aug. 22 in Pittsburg County District Court to a felony charge of enabling child abuse by injury, court records state.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended and fined $500. A second charge of child abuse was dismissed and Ragan was ordered not to be around any child under the age of 18, according to court records.

 Ragan’s 8-week old baby girl, Elayna Maree Daniel, was put on life support on May 5 after she was allegedly beaten by her mother’s boyfriend Nathan Lee Edwards, 22, court records state.

Edwards was charged May 13 in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of engaging in child abuse by injury and one felony count of enabling child abuse by injury.

Edwards allegedly slapped the baby on the top of her head, picked the baby up by one arm, shook the baby, slapped the baby on the back and threatened the baby when she was “crying or fussy,” the affidavit states.

Ragan allegedly saw this all occur and did nothing to stop the alleged abuse, according to the affidavit.

 Pittsburg County Deputy Tommy Lyons was called to McAlester Regional Health Center after the baby was brought by ambulance to the emergency room, court records state.

The baby was reported to have bruising on the head, arm and shoulder and was transported from the emergency room by medical aircraft to Tulsa, a police affidavit states.

The baby suffered from head and trunk blunt force trauma as well as multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns.

On Wednesday Kerns said the child, who is now 6-months old, remains on life support.

Meanwhile, Edwards remains in the Pittsburg County jail in lieu of 250,000 bond.

 If convicted of the charges against him, he faces life imprisonment.

Edwards is due back in court Sept. 29 at  9 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at