Mother of Toddler Killed by Babysitter Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment

Modified: August 14, 2018 11:12am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 28-year-old Heather Schoepflin of Delevan pleaded guilty before Marilla Town Justice David Wyzykowski to one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a misdemeanor offense. The defendant pleaded guilty, as charged, to the highest sustainable count.

On March 10, 2017, at a mobile home park on Hemstreet Road in the Town of Marilla, the defendant failed to seek medical care for her 2-year-old son. The toddler, Ethan Bigham, suffered visible bruising and other injuries while under the care of their babysitter Devon VanDerWege.

In May 2018, VanDerWege received a determinate sentence of 20 years in prison for the crime of Manslaughter in the First Degree.

Schoepflin is scheduled to return for sentencing on Tuesday, October 16 at 10 a.m. She faces up to a year in jail.

DA Flynn commends the investigative work of Detectives Cully Ferrick, Jon Hanna, Christian Parisi, and Jack Graham of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

“While it gives me no pleasure to see the mother of a deceased child plead guilty to a criminal offense, I felt it was necessary to charge her due to her inactions,” said DA Flynn. “Ethan suffered terrible injuries at the hands of his caregiver, and not seeking immediate medical care for this little boy only prolonged his suffering.”

The case was prosecuted by Nicholas T. Texido, Chief of the DA’s Training and Special Projects Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Anthony M. Rossi of the DA’s Special Victims Bureau.