MADISON — The Norfolk woman convicted of causing the death of her four-year-old daughter will be spending decades in prison.
Judge James Kube sentenced Carla Montoya to 55-75 years in jail at a District Court hearing on Thursday. Montoya was found guilty of felony intentional child abuse stemming from an incident that caused the death of her four-year-old daughter, Caylee Hoehne, in March 2016.
Kube called the incident a “borderline rage incident” and criticized Montoya for not seeking medical treatment for her daughter for over 13 hours after she was injured.
“How could you not know? That’s what I’ve thought about, how could you not know?” Kube asked.
The State says Montoya became upset with Caylee and threw her against a wall at least three times. She died several days later in an Omaha hospital.
Montoya told the judge she didn’t immediately know she had hurt Caylee. Once she realized, she said she delayed seeking medical help because she was scared. The 23-year-old told the courtroom she was sorry in her final statement.
“I made a huge mistake that will haunt me forever,” Montoya said. “I know I can’t bring her back, but if I could I would. I know that nothing I say will take the pain away, but from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.”
Caylee’s paternal grandfather testified that he had forgiven Montoya but said he hoped every day she serves in prison will be a reminder of the life she took.
“There is no punishment great enough to bring my sweet granddaughter back, no amount of prison time can replace the years taken from sweet Caylee’s life,” Cecil Hoehne said.
Defense attorney Ron Temple asked the judge for a 20-22 year sentence and said the incident was an example of inexperienced parenting.
“She doesn’t make excuses for her delay other than, she says ‘I was scared.’ Was that really an irrational response? For a person of her age, I suggest not,” Temple said.
Madison County Attorney Joe Smith did not recommend a specific length of sentence but said it should be a heavy sentence. Montoya faced a minimum of 20 years with a maximum of life in prison.
She will be eligible for parole in 27.5 years. She was given credit for 732 days already served.