Stepmom Whose Torture and Starvation of 9-Year-Old Was Captured on Nanny Cam Gets Life in Prison

Judge Steven Hippler called Monique Osuna's actions "sadistic, evil, and heartless"

Emrik Ozuna
Emrik Osuna. Photo: GoFundMe

Content warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

An Idaho judge has sentenced a 29-year-old woman to life in prison for the role she played in the 2020 killing of her 9-year-old stepson, Emrik Osuna.

Parole will never be possible for Monique Osuna, who previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and learned her fate Thursday inside an Ada County courtroom, PEOPLE learns.

Emrik died on Sept. 2, 2020, at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise following months of emotional and physical abuse. During this same period, he was deprived of food and made to exercise for up to 20 hours at a time.

In exchange for their guilty pleas, Osuna and her husband, Emrik's dad Erik Osuna, who also has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, were spared possible death sentences, according to a statement from prosecutors.

A date for Erik Osuna's sentencing has not yet been scheduled, the statement notes. While investigators say Monique carried out most of the abuse, Erik did little if anything to stop it.

Most of the abuse Emrik suffered was captured by nanny cameras the suspects had installed throughout their Meridian apartment.

KTVB was present for Thursday's sentencing, and reports that much of that footage was shown in court, along with autopsy photos of the severe bruising found across the majority of his body, which weighed only 41 lbs. at the time of his death.

Ada County Prosecutor John Dinger described Emrik's home situation as "a living hell," according to the station.

Erik and Monique Osuna
Erik and Monique Osuna. Ada County Sheriff’s Office (2)

From the witness stand, Detective Eric Stoffle of the Meridian Police told the court he had to review all of the disturbing footage as part of his investigation. Stoffle recalled one particularly heartbreaking scene in which a desperate Emrik, while being forced to exercise at 3 a.m., suddenly stops to ask God why the abuse is happening to him.

"He starts crying ... that was one of the most significant instances that affected me," Stoffle said, the station reports. "As he's talking to God, you can see Monique in the background and sneak up to where she's hiding behind the counter, listening to him. That affected me the most."

Stoffle said that in other nanny camera footage, the stepmother can be seen hitting Emrik with a frying pan, screaming in his face, and withholding food from him as his siblings ate in front of him.

The stepmother was also caught on video teasing the boy about being hungry, and telling him to eat his own feces.

"But mom," Emrik says on the video, "I don't want to starve to death."

According to KTVB, Monique Osuna sobbed and wiped tears from her eyes as the footage was played.

Emrik Ozuna
Emrik Osuna. GoFundMe

Another investigator told the court the animals in Emrik's home received better treatment, and that the cameras captured the starving boy eating dog food or scraps out of the garbage.

Prosecutors told the judge she also gave the boy toilet water to drink, and that through all of the abuse, Emrik never pushed back. Instead, he mostly offered apologies to his stepmother.

Monique Osuna spoke before her sentencing, telling Judge Steven Hippler she was sorry for the pain she caused.

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"He didn't deserve any of that," she said. "He deserves so much more, and I hope for the rest of my life, I'll be sorry for my wrongful actions."

Before sentencing her, Hippler said Osuna's actions were "sadistic, evil, and heartless."

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