BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday, May 25, for a South Dakota woman who failed to show up for her sentencing after she admitted to letting her ex-boyfriend kill his own son.
Ramona Louise Shortman, 26, of Rosholt, S.D., was supposed to be in Wilkin County District Court Tuesday in Breckenridge to be sentenced for her role in the death of 3-year-old Winter Sky Barker in April 2018. Shortman, who is not Barker's mother, appeared via teleconference.
She explained the car she was supposed to use to get to the courthouse broke down and she was trying to get it fixed. Her attorney, Derek Ganzhorn, asked for a continuance on Monday, noting Shortman did not have money to pay for a ride.
Judge Charles Glasrud denied that request and issued a warrant for her arrest. Shortman and her attorney plan to discuss how to turn herself in.
The sentencing hearing was supposed to draw to close more than three years of court proceedings surrounding Barker's death.
According to court documents:
Breckenridge police responded after 10 a.m. April 10, 2018, to an apartment for a report of a child who was not breathing.
An autopsy revealed Barker died by homicide as a result of chemical peritonitis caused by his stomach being perforated. Some injuries that indicated a pattern of abuse included rib fractures.
Barker’s father, Tracy Norman Brant, 38, was charged April 19, 2018, with murder, manslaughter and malicious punishment of a child. Brant eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder without intent.
Brant admitted to punching Barker in the stomach the day before the child's death. He also said he routinely disciplined the child by hitting him with a broken clothing hanger, court documents said.
Brant started serving a 25-year sentence in September 2019.
Shortman pleaded guilty in March to a second-degree felony of manslaughter that said she permitted the abuse. Other charges of manslaughter and child neglect were slated to be dismissed.
It's unclear when she will be sentenced.