Chris Harris
September 16, 2016 02:45 PM

An upstate New York man is facing life in prison for killing his toddler daughter, a cancer survivor, PEOPLE confirms.

Court records confirm that Ryan Lawrence, 25, accepted a plea deal for first-degree murder in her death during a Thursday court appearance in Onondaga County, New York.

Lawrence admitted in court that he beat his 21-month-old daughter, Maddox, to death with a wooden baseball bat in February, according to the records.

Authorities tell PEOPLE that Maddox had spent the last year with cancer and beat the disease into submission. Prosecutors say Lawrence may have killed his daughter because he was jealous over the attention she’d received from her cancer diagnosis.

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After beating her, Lawrence said in court he then torched Maddox’s remains before discarding her body in the waters of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.

He’d tied a cinder block to her body, to weight it down, according to the court records.

Maddox’s body was found by search divers soon after she was reported missing, records show.

Maddox’s mother signed off on Thursday’s plea deal, prosecutors say. Lawrence will be sentenced in Maddox’s murder in October.

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