An Arizona woman and her partner have been handed down 20-year prison sentences for severe child abuse, which included physical assaults, food deprivation, and even setting the 10-year-old victim on fire. The sentences were announced by Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell for Chloe Rae Sergent, the child’s mother, and Keola Wimbish, both of whom were apprehended on April 5, 2022, following a report of the abuse by a family member.
The abuse inflicted on the child was described as “significant” by Mitchell. The child was subjected to physical assaults, food deprivation, neglect of medical care for injuries, and there was evidence that one of the defendants had set the child on fire.
Local news outlet FOX 10 reported in April 2022 that Sergent had confessed to the alleged abuse to investigators. The abuse included striking the child with a machete and a crowbar. A family member also reported to investigators that they had never seen the couple feed the child.
Medical professionals reported to the police that the child was severely undernourished, had suffered 12 bone fractures, and had other serious injuries such as infected cuts that required surgical intervention for healing.
Both Sergent and Wimbish pleaded guilty in court to single counts of child abuse and attempt to commit child abuse. Wimbish also pleaded guilty to a second charge of attempt to commit child abuse.
The couple, who were in a romantic relationship and lived together with the victim and two other children, were sentenced to 20 years in state prison followed by 10 years of supervised probation.
“The abuse this child endured at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her is appalling,” Mitchell said. “I am particularly grateful to this young victim who bravely shared her story. Thanks to the intervention of a caring relative, a thorough investigation by the police, and the diligent work by MCAO prosecutors, justice has been served.”