Sheila Stogsdill

Special to the Grove Sun Daily

MIAMI- The mother of an infant girl found dead in Miami motel pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse and was released from jail, District Attorney Eddie Wyant said Thursday.

Catherine White, 30, of Goodman, Mo., entered a guilty plea and received a 25-year sentence with all but 10 months suspended, time White has already spent in the Ottawa County jail.

Wyant said the charge was amended from child neglect because of a recent court decision changing the wording of a state statute.

Travis Steed, 31, of Seligman, Mo., White’s former boyfriend, is charged in Ottawa County District Court in Miami with first-degree murder in the death of McKenna Jayda White.

The 15-month-old girl was found dead in her playpen at a Miami motel where Steed and White were staying in February 2006.  A medical examiner said McKenna’s death was likely the result of blunt head trauma.   The toddler also suffered a five-and-a-half-inch skull fracture from the front of her skull to her spinal cord

During a four-day trial, prosecutors argue Steed delivered fatal blows to the child. But the defense has said that there is no physical evidence to link Steed to the crime.

A mistrial was called after jurors deadlocked 9-3.  Steed will be retired in the fall.

White testified during the trial she had used methamphetamine before leaving McKenna with Steed while she went to Missouri to pick up her other children.