Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 12, 2014

Topeka woman lands back in jail after admitted drug use

LAGRANGE — A Topeka woman who violated the terms of her probation in a case involving a toddler’s death was sentenced to the Indiana Department of Correction Friday.

Christy Shaffer will serve a six-year sentence, according to the ruling handed down in LaGrange Circuit Court. The judge said he’d recommend that substance abuse counseling be made available to Shaffer, and that she be housed in a DOC facility where that counseling is available.

Shaffer was given credit for around 150 days she’s already been incarcerated on the probation offense.

Last month in Circuit Court, Shaffer admitted she’d violated probation by using or possessing methamphetamine. She tested positive for meth on a drug screen in November of last year.

Shaffer had been on probation on a Class B felony charge of neglect of a dependent. The charge rose from the death of 16-month-old Alissa Guernsey. Guernsey, born Nov. 2, 2007, was the daughter of Shaffer’s cousin, Kelli Sprunger. The child became a ward of the state and was placed into foster care with Shaffer.

Guernsey died March 28, 2009, while in Shaffer’s care. Court documents indicate the child had suffered blunt-force trauma. In June 2009, a grand jury indicted Shaffer on two counts of neglect of a dependent, one a Class B felony charge and the other a Class C felony.

Shaffer pleaded guilty to the Class B felony neglect charge in February 2011. On May 25 of that year, LaGrange Circuit Court Judge J. Scott VanDerbeck imposed a 10-year sentence — four years in the Indiana Department of Correction and six years suspended.

Part of VanDerbeck’s sentencing order stated Shaffer could petition the court for early release after going through the DOC’s Reception Diagnostic Center. Shaffer did this.

On Aug. 11, 2011, VanDerbeck modified Shaffer’s sentence, ordering her to complete six months on the court’s home monitoring program followed by three years on probation.

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