Mom Sentenced for Leaving 13-Month-Old Son to Die in Car for Hours While She Went ‘Dumpster Diving’

“His death is heartbreaking and should never have happened," the attorney in a separate wrongful death lawsuit filed against the mother said

<p>gorodenkoff/Getty</p> Police tape


Police tape

An Alabama mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week in connection with the 2019 death of her 13-month-old son, who prosecutors said she abandoned in a hot car while going dumpster diving. reported that Elizabeth Anne Case, 39, received her sentencing this week after pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge in March. The mother received four years in prison with 150 days credit for time already spent in jail.

Investigators said her toddler, Casen Case, was left alone in the car for roughly eight hours, the outlet reported. The mother was originally charged with capital murder, but those charges were dropped last August in place of reckless manslaughter and aggravated child abuse charges, previously reported.

The outlet reported the incident occurred the night of Oct. 4, 2019, when Case put her son in the front seat of her car and brought him along with her while she went dumpster diving around 9 or 10 p.m. local time, according to investigators. The mother returned home around 5:40 a.m. local time and went inside her home to sleep, leaving the toddler in the car overnight.

Local WHNT reported that Case did not return to check on the toddler until 1:30 p.m. the next afternoon when her grandmother began banging on her bedroom door asking where the boy was. Case and her grandmother then soon discovered her young son inside the car. Case took him into the house and put him in the shower while the grandmother called 911, according to the outlet.

Temperatures outside were about 97 degrees outside when the boy was discovered, reported.

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In addition to Case’s criminal charges, Casen’s aunt also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Case and the state’s Department of Human Resources, according to WHNT, alleging the department didn’t take appropriate action in Casen’s situation and left him in his mother’s custody despite her being in and out of jail while she was pregnant.

“These workers are paid with our tax dollars to protect children like Casen and yet they did nothing,” attorney Tommy James said in a statement on the aunt’s behalf. “His death is heartbreaking and should never have happened.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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