ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. — Angela Siebke received a two-year prison sentence with credit for time already served Tuesday, Feb. 15, nearly 30 years after the death of her infant dubbed "Baby April" in 1992.
Because Siebke had already been incarcerated for 14 months and only has to serve one year following her credit, she was released Tuesday on furlough.
"I take full responsibility of not reaching out and getting help almost 30 years ago, when I was 18," Siebke said Tuesday at the Rock Island County Justice Center. "I've lived with this every day of my life. It's the worst day of my life. I'm sorry I didn't come forward. But since then, I've had children. I have a family. I don't want to put them through all this, but I'm thankful now that we're able to move on, gain some peace ,and I'm sorry."
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Frank Fuhr said he considered many factors in his decision, including the family that she's raising now.
"This is truly a tragic situation," Fuhr said. "There is no danger to the community. There is no danger to others from Miss Siebke, and to sentence her to any long term in the Department of Corrections may deter others but would do nothing but cause further harm to the children that she is currently raising, and from all evidence that I have, (she) has done a good job of raising."
Siebke, who lived in Orion, Illinois, at the time of the incident, left the baby in the Mississippi River and went to work a few days later without telling anyone.
"She wrote a letter to the judge, and she accepted all responsibility," her lawyer Steve Hanna said following the sentencing. "This result today was fair. She's got six other kids. She needs to get home to them. She's been a productive citizen for the last 30 years. She hasn't done anything wrong. It's just a sad tragic event."
Watch: Angela Siebke court statement — Feb. 15, 2022
Hanna said Siebke gave birth at home with no help and claimed the baby was stillborn. The state couldn't ask for a longer sentence because it didn't have enough proof that the baby was born alive, he added.
"She got some punishment. She didn't walk scot-free, but they had no proof that the baby was born alive," Hanna said. "And that was really the thrust of their case. The doctor they had did not perform a test that would have shown definitely that the baby was born alive … You can't prove somebody's guilty with a guess. It has to be beyond a reasonable doubt and that's why we got the result we did."
However, police and prosecutors still maintain that Baby April was alive before she was left in the river.
"The pathologist indicated that the baby was born live and took breaths before it was killed," Moline Police Detective Michael Griffin said during Siebke's sentencing.
Griffin joined the case in 2013. He said Siebke was always cooperative with the Moline police.
Many of Siebke's family members were there, including her children. After the sentence was read, there were tears, hugs and sighs of relief.
"The family's exuberated," Hanna said. "They're very happy. They just want to get home and get back to normal."
Hanna asaid Siebke was looking forward to returning to her current home in Ohio.
In a few years, he said they'll see if they can get this expunged from her record.
Siebke pleaded guilty to endangering the life of a child resulting in death on Nov. 22. This came after she was initially charged with first-degree murder on Sept. 9.
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A man walking his dog found the infant in a trash bag on April 13, 1992, along the shore of the Mississippi River. Police were unable to make any breakthroughs in the investigation until 2014, after advanced DNA tests were used to match Siebke as the suspect.
In December 2020, Moline police arrested Siebke, who was living in Ohio when she was taken into custody. She had been held in Rock Island County Jail prior to her Feb. 15 sentencing.