Delphos mother pleads guilty in child’s death

Van Wert prosecutor agrees to recommend 5-year sentence

By J Swygart -



VAN WERT — The mother of a toddler who died in Delphos in November 2016 pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges.

Valarie Dean, entered guilty pleas to those charges Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. Prosecutors did not offer any special deal other than to recommend a prison sentence of not more than five years when Dean is sentenced Jan. 24.

She is the second person to plead guilty in connection with the death of her son, 15-month-old Hayden Ridinger, whose lifeless body was found inside an apartment shared by Dean and Christopher Peters at The Old Lincoln Inn in Delphos.

Christopher Peters was sentenced in October to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of the infant that prosecutors claim was left in his care at the time of death. A Van Wert jury convicted Peters of aggravated murder, felonious assault and endangering a child.

Lima defense attorney Bill Kluge, who represented Peters, said prior to his client’s sentencing that he continued to believe that Dean shared culpability in the infant’s death and that his client “continues to deny any involvement” in the fatal injuries suffered by the child. Kluge said the jury’s verdicts to convict Peters would be appealed.

The infant’s death was attributed by medical experts to blunt-force trauma due to massive injuries to his body.

Van Wert County Prosecuting Attorney Eva Yarger said Thursday she is happy with the way the cases were resolved.

“This was a good resolution for the county,” she said. “It’s been emotional, and we didn’t want to go through another trial.”

Van Wert prosecutor agrees to recommend 5-year sentence

By J Swygart

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