An Indiana woman who starved her 3-week-old daughter to death was sentenced to life in prison last Thursday after pleading guilty to first-degree murder, according to multiple reports.
Before she pleaded guilty, Ruby Stephens, 26, was scheduled to stand trial in April in the December 2014 death of her newborn daughter, the Lakeland Ledger reports.
On Dec. 23, 2014, Stephens, her husband, Roy Stephens, 51, and her three children were traveling from their home in Indiana to Florida to visit family for the holidays, according to the paper. (Roy Stephens was convicted in December of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.)
After checking in to a local Comfort Inn, the couple decided to eat a meal with their family at a nearby Golden Corral, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
When they arrived at the restaurant, Stephens noticed her baby, Betsey Kee Stephens, was unresponsive. She called 911 and the baby was taken to a local hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. An autopsy ruled the cause of death as homicide, the Sentinel reports.
When she died, Betsey Kee weighed only 4 pounds, 1 once — two pounds lighter than when she was born, the outlet reports.
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Betsey Kee was conceived during an extramarital affair, prosecutors alleged, and caused a strain on the couple, which played a role in Roy Stephens’ neglect of the child, according to the Sentinel.
Ruby Stephens initially told investigators she breastfed her daughter every three hours, but the infant’s autopsy revealed the child’s stomach and large intestines were empty, which indicated that she had not been fed at least six hours before her death, according to the Ledger.
“[Ruby Stephens] made it clear that her husband, Roy Allen Stephens, had no role in the homicide, and that she kept all the information of her actions from him,” Roy’s lawyer, David Carmichael said, according to court documents obtained by the Ledger. “Additionally, she gave her motive for the crime being that the baby was from an extramarital affair, and indicated that [Roy Stephens] wanted to keep the child despite its origins.”
Carmichael also claimed Ruby Stephens would “pretend to breastfeed while [her husband] drove the car and managed the two other children.”
Roy Stephens was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and 30 years each for the other charges to run consecutively, the News Chief reports.
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It is unclear where the two other children found with the couple are. An attorneys for Ruby Stephens could not be reached by PEOPLE on Tuesday.
Roy Stephens’ attorney tells PEOPLE that Stephens has appealed and his appeal is pending.