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Las Vegas mother pleads guilty in death of 3-year-old son

Updated November 26, 2019 - 11:18 am

A Las Vegas mother pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and child abuse charges in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son.

Cassie Smith, who authorities said watched as her boyfriend abused Daniel Theriot, causing his death, faces a minimum of 10 to 25 years behind bars on the murder charge alone, while prosecutors are expected to ask a judge for additional time on a child abuse, neglect or endangerment charge.

Last month, Joshua Oxford, 42, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm. Oxford was sentenced earlier this month to 16 years to 45 years in prison.

Smith, now 21, is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

According to court documents, Smith told homicide detectives she watched Oxford pour water over her son after he smacked the boy “over and over again” on Sept. 1, 2018, inside their studio apartment in Las Vegas. But when Daniel “still wouldn’t listen,” Oxford heated water on a stove and poured it on the boy, Smith told police.

Daniel was dead the next morning, Oxford and Smith told police.

Police said Smith reported that Daniel vanished at Sunset Park. Authorities quickly suspected her story was a lie after no one at the park recalled seeing the woman and child together.

Smith then told investigators that after she discovered Daniel’s lifeless body, the couple placed him in a plastic tub and drove to a remote spot at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, an arrest report stated.

Smith and Oxford were arrested after Daniel’s body was found Sept. 3, 2018. Prosecutors have said the boy’s body showed signs of ongoing abuse. An autopsy found that Daniel suffered multiple bruises, abrasions and blunt force injuries, including several broken ribs and a subdural hemorrhage.

Police said Daniel’s 2-year-old brother was taken by child protective services and transported to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where staffers also discovered signs of physical abuse.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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