Mother sentenced to 15 years for neglect that led to the death of her child

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by Becky Mortensen
by Michele McCormack

WEST BEND --- Leann Leszynski was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision Thursday for the death of her 3-year-old daughter.

In court Gary Kluwe, 3-year-old Haley Kluwe's grandfather, held on to a picture of his granddaughter as the sentence was handed down.

The whole family was emotional as they spoke to one another in front of the court.

"Leann, I don't hate you but I still believe you should receive the maximum for justice for the family and for Haley, " Ben Kluwe, Haley's father said in court.

Lesynski was sentenced after pleading no contest to a charge of neglect causing death.

The judge agreed and handed down the sentence, although he said he wasn't convinced of her remorse after she delivered a statement about the events that led to Haley's death.

"I know it's no excuse for not calling 911 and I wasn't ready to let her go yet," Leszynski told the courtroom. "I held her for about 20 minutes and saw my world crashing down on me."

According to the autopsy, Haley died from a flesh eating infection that spread throughout her body from an untreated cut on her finger.

There was also evidence of head and neck injuries and bleeding under the skin.

Leszynski's boyfriend, Justin Streicher has also pleaded no contest and is scheduled for sentencing in May.

After Haley's death in May 2012 family and friends told CBS 58 they had warned authorities about the poor conditions the children were living in. They said there was drug use and dealing going on in the home where Haley, her twin and older sister were living.

"Calling police and social services that this activity was happening and that the girls were in imminent danger and as a result we have a dead child here," Gary Kluwe said.

Washington County Human Services won't say if they received any such calls and the Assistant District Attorney handling the criminal case has put a hold on the summary usually published by the State Department of Children and Families. The agency issued a statement that says in part:

"The DCF agrees with the decision to delay the posting of the report based on the available information at this time. However, we will continue to work with the concerned authority and then determine if the report will be posted at a later date or withheld indefinitely."

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