Woman pleads guilty to abusing her 4-year-old son in Stone County, Mo.

Gavel on sounding block
Gavel on sounding block(Gray Television)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:55 PM CST
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GALENA, Mo. (KY3) - A Stone County, Mo. woman accused of abusing her four-year-old son by keeping him in a cage pleaded guilty to child abuse or neglect of a child.

Dessa Barton, 26, pleaded guilty to felony abuse or neglect of a child. She remains jailed until her sentencing on March 7.

Investigators received a 911 call on November 6 about the child unresponsive in a Billings home. Emergency crews transported the four-year-old child to a Springfield hospital, then airlifted him to a Kansas City hospital. Medical personnel advised detectives the child suffered various injuries consistent with physical abuse. They said the boy also suffered from extreme malnutrition. Detectives say the boy spent extended periods of time in a wooden crate constructed of pallets.

Richard Hilliker, 52, already pleaded guilty to child endangerment charges. W. Dalton McLendon, 26, and Katherine Kost, 56, will go on trial later this year.

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