STONE COUNTY, Mo. — On Tuesday, March 8, a woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being in connection with the abuse of a four-year-old.  

Dessa Barton pleaded guilty in January to abuse or neglect of a child. Barton is one of four defendants in the case.  

According to a press release, Stone County dispatch received a call on November 6, 2020, about a child who was found unresponsive. Medical crews arrived at the residence to pick up the boy and transport him to Cox South in Springfield. The boy was then air-lifted to Kansas City in critical condition. 

Medical staff discovered various injuries and saw the boy was extremely malnourished.  

Stone County detectives went back to the home on November 25 and found a wooden crate made of pallets. Sheriff Rader says detectives believe the crate was used to cage the boy for extended periods. 

Probable Cause statements say those responsible for the boy were Dessa Barton and her boyfriend William McLendon. Barton claimed the boy had been self-harming by clawing at his arms and nose and banging his head into things. When asked if she had taken the boy to get medical attention she said no because she was trying to get on Medicaid, but things got delayed due to COVID-19.