Convoy woman pleads not guilty to infant daughter’s murder

By J Swygart -

LIMA — A Van Wert County woman charged with murder in the April death of her infant daughter formally entered pleas of not guilty Monday to four charges related to the young girl’s death.

Vicky Shellabarger, 36, of Convoy, was indicted this month by an Allen County grand jury on charges of murder, an unclassified felony; involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; and two counts of endangering children. Pleas were entered on her behalf during Monday’s arraignment hearing before Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed.

The murder charge carries a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life upon conviction, Reed told Shellabarger. The defendant’s $1 million bond was continued. Her next schedule court appearance will be a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 19.

The indictment against Shellabarger alleges that on or about April 28 she “did cause the death of another as the proximate result of … committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence … to wit: endangering children.”

According to initial reports from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, first responders in Delphos were dispatched in the early morning hours of April 29 to an apartment at 218 N. Main St. in reference to an unresponsive child. The 911 call reportedly was placed by Shellabarger, the mother of 22-month-old Madilynn Shellabarger, authorities said.

Upon their arrival, Delphos EMS personnel found the infant not breathing. She was transported to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s, where attempts to revive her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead.

The death was initially described by Delphos Police Chief Mark Slate as suspicious. An investigation by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, Delphos police and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was initiated.

It was eventually determined the child died as the result of blunt force trauma, authorities said.

By J Swygart

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

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