Rune Springer
Rune Springer
Rune Springer, the mother of the severely neglected Nappanee child, was sentenced to probation Thursday.
Springer, 26, of 9872 E. King Arthur Trail, Cromwell, appeared in front of Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates Thursday and was handed 2-½ years in the Kosciusko County Jail for a Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent conviction. Springer’s guilty plea came with the stipulation that she is mentally ill. Cates suspended that sentence to time served, which is 427 actual jail days, and the rest to formal probation. A requirement of her probation is also to seek help from the Bowen Center.
Four others were charged in this case, including Travis Tillotson, 39, of 1359 W. CR 800S, Claypool; Fayette Robinette, 60, of 9462 N. Ind. 19, lot #24, Etna Green; Jammy Stacy, 42, Elkhart; and Annette Priestley, 60, White Pigeon, Mich.
On March 2, 2018, Nappanee police responded to 1200 N. Main St., Apt. 103, Nappanee, and found a child in need of medical attention. Officers identified the mother as Springer. Springer and Tillotson were married and lived together in the Nappanee home.
Springer told officers she did not cause the injuries to the child and the child had been in the care of another woman, Stacy, for about a year. Springer said Stacy dropped the boy at Springer’s house on March 1, 2018, with visible injuries, according to court papers.
Springer and Tillotson did not call police for approximately 32 hours after the boy was dropped off, according to court statements, because Stacy and Priestley said they would all be arrested for child abuse. Priestley was with Stacy when the boy was dropped off, according to statements Tillotson made in court Thursday. Priestley is Stacy’s mother.
The boy was taken to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he stayed in the intensive care unit for 10 days for being malnourished.
Parkview medical staff said the child had visible injuries in many stages of healing. He had multiple pieces of scalp missing, ranging from a half inch to 2 inches. His septum on his nose had been cut deeply and was starting to heal. What appeared to be injuries from fingernails dug into his left cheek were scabbed over. Skin was missing from the bridge of his nose and scabbed over. His arms were broken in multiple places and in different stages of healing. Arm sockets were broken and the child was unable to raise his hands over his shoulders. His teeth were broken from trauma; his lower lip had been cut deep and was almost healed, leaving scarring; and he was extremely underweight and had hematomas to the head.
According to police reports, a doctor said that the child’s injuries were life-threatening and were not accidental. The doctor said injuries to the child appeared to range from several months old to a few days old, and that if the child had not gotten treatment, he would have died within 48 hours. The injuries appeared to be the result of prolonged child abuse.
The investigation revealed that Springer had taken the child to Stacy in October 2017 to live with her, and Springer would only go visit him at Stacy’s residence for an occasional visit, with the last one being in December 2017, according to court records.
Stacy told police during interviews the boy lived with her from October to March 1 and the child would occasionally stay the night at her aunt’s house – Robinette’s. Stacy also told police the child had visited regularly with Priestley during that time, and she knew the boy should have gotten medical attention and she would have if the child had been her own.
In court Thursday, Kosciusko County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz said that in late 2017, Springer realized her mental illness prevented her from caring for her son so she asked the child to be cared for by Stacy. It was when the child was dropped back off at Springer’s home by the trio that Springer had been diagnosed by two doctors as legally insane, Voelz said.
“The state has found no evidence whatsoever she harmed the child,” he said, adding Springer is guilty of not getting the boy medical attention right away. “Rune has been cooperative in our investigation and will continue to cooperate.”
Springer will continue to cooperate, because part of her plea agreement is that she will testify against any and all co-defendants in the case if necessary.
Springer had no comment when asked by Cates for a sentencing statement.
Cates said it appears Springer has a serious mental illness and that he hopes she gets the help she needs.
Springer, who appeared in court in the custody of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, walked free after court Thursday.
Tillotson is set to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 27 in Superior Court I for a Level 6 neglect of a dependent charge that stipulates his term of imprisonment not exceed 1-½ years and that it all be suspended to formal probation, according to court records.
Trials are pending for the other three suspects.