Woman sentenced to 5 years of probation for neglect

A woman who ignored her 12-year-old stepson’s fatal illness, believing he was trying to get out of going to school, was sentenced to five years of probation Monday.

Kalinda Mercado was ordered by District Judge Betsy Gonzalez to spend 90 days in jail, go to counseling and perform 16 hours of community service a month as part of that probation, among other conditions.

Mercado, 42, pleaded guilty via an Alford plea Oct. 7 to one count of child neglect with substantial bodily harm related to the death of Emmanuel Mercado. The plea means she did not admit guilt but agreed that prosecutors could prove their case.

As part of a deal, prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Mercado.

At the sentencing hearing Monday, Mercado wept as she apologized for what she had done and told Gonzalez she had considered Emmanuel to be her own son after having raised him from a young age.

Prosecutor Michael Staudaher had asked for the maximum sentence for Mercado, an 8- to 20-year prison term.

Emmanuel died on Feb. 4, 2012 after his appendix burst and sepsis, a complete-body inflammatory state caused by severe infection, had consumed his organs. According to Las Vegas police, Emmanuel’s stepmother ignored his symptoms for at least a week.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.