STONE COUNTY, Mo. — A woman who was charged alongside three other people after a boy was found unresponsive was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse.

Katherine Kost, 55, got 12 years with the Missouri Department of Corrections after she pleaded guilty to a child abuse charge she received in November 2020. In 2020, Stone County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call in Billings about a 4-year-old boy who was unresponsive due to physical abuse and extreme malnutrition. Kost said the boy had been self-harming, according to a probable cause statement from the SCHO.

The boy was taken to Springfield for medical attention and then air-lifted to Kansas City after he was found to be in critical condition. After treatment there, the boy was in stable condition. A forensic nurse reported that the boy had old and new injuries consistent with physical abuse and could not be the result of self-harm.

After investigating the home where the boy lived, detectives found a crate made of pallets believed to be used to cage the boy.

The other people charged in the case are Dessa A. Barton — who is the mother of the boy — William McClendon, and Richard Hilliker. McClendon and Barton are spending 12 years each for the abuse of a child. Hilliker is spending five years for a child endangerment charge.