Woman gets 20 years for leaving infant daughter in desert to die

PHOENIX — An Arizona woman was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for killing her 17-month-old daughter by leaving the child in a desert for days without food or water.

Ashley Denise Attson, 23, of Chinle, was sentenced in U.S. district court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona. Attson, a member of the Navajo Nation, was also sentenced to five years of supervised release once her 20-year sentence is completed.

>> Read more trending news

Attson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of the little girl, which U.S. District Judge David C. Campbell described as the "intentional, cold-hearted, horrendous killing of an innocent child," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a written statement.

Attson pushed the girl in a stroller into the desert on Navajo Nation land in September 2016 and left her there for four days and four nights, the statement said. The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian reservation in the country.

"Over the next few days, she met friends for ice cream and posted pictures of herself on Facebook," officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "When she returned, the child was dead."

Two days after finding her daughter dead, Attson returned, placed the girl’s body in a trash bag and buried her in an animal hole.

The baby, whose name has not been made public, was born with methamphetamine in her system and was in the custody of tribal social services for the majority of her life, the statement said.

Attson regained custody just two months before she killed her daughter.