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Charges Upgraded For Mom In Son’s Heart Death

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File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Charges have been upgraded against a Columbia mother whose 5-month-old son died last month from an unmonitored heart condition.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said 28-year-old Jennifer Coles is charged with homicide by child abuse. Coles turned herself in on the new charge Monday. It carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. She had been charged with illegal neglect of a child, which carries up to 10 years behind bars.

Authorities say Coles’ son was premature and a doctor told his mother he had to have a monitor that would check his heart rate, but the monitor was almost never used.

Department of Social Services workers tried to find the family five times but failed before the boy’s death.

It wasn’t known if Coles had a lawyer.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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