Mom sentenced to 12 years in baby drowning

Mickey Bess pleaded guilty to serious bodily injury to child by reckless omission

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SAN ANTONIO – In October 2013, Mickey Wylie Bess, 31, found the lifeless body of her 9-month-old son, Michael Sanchez, floating in a backyard swimming pool at the family's home on Casa Verde Street.

During her sentencing hearing on Wednesday as she faced charges of serious injury of a child by reckless omission, Bess told 290th District Court Judge Melisa Skinner how she immediately took the child into her home.

"I couldn't let him go, I just wanted to be with him and to hold him," Bess testified. "(His death) wasn't processing. I sat with him and rocked him. He was my baby."

According to the arrest affidavit, the following day Bess took her two other children to SeaWorld, leaving the infant's body in his crib, wrapped in a wet towel.

Bess' mother found him later that day.

Bess said she could not explain her behavior.

"It was surreal, I felt like a zombie," she testified.

Saying she has changed, Bess asked for probation.

"I will never, never, never be in that situation again," she said. "I've paid the ultimate price."

Skinner denied the request for probation and sentenced Bess to 12 years in prison, the maximum allowed under a plea agreement.

The sentence was a disappointment for Robert Sanchez, the child's grandfather.

"Mijo is underground -- six feet under -- while she's out breathing and everything," Sanchez said. "She should have gotten more."

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.