A Lynchburg man will serve a year in jail for encouraging mistreatment of his girlfriend’s infant daughter, who died last summer as the result of abuse and neglect.

Fantasia Ashante Lane took her 22-month-old daughter Amarah Lane to Lynchburg General Hospital on Aug. 11 of last year because she was “floppy” and “listless,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison said at a previous hearing. The child died days later as the result of complications from having high amounts of sodium in her system.

Fantasia Lane pleaded guilty in December to child abuse, child endangerment and felony murder. She was sentenced to 23 active years in prison, and her boyfriend at the time, Maurice Tyrone Puryear, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor two months later.

Puryear was found guilty in Lynchburg Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in June but appealed his case up to Lynchburg Circuit Court, where he was tried by Judge F. Patrick Yeatts on Tuesday.

Lane lost custody of her daughter when she was three weeks old because of injuries from neglect, Harrison said during her December plea hearing. She later regained custody, but continued a cycle of abuse and neglect that eventually lead to Amarah’s death.

Examinations of Amarah at the hospital revealed bruises, scratches and scrapes to her body, Harrison said at the plea hearing. A child abuse expert she consulted said Amarah’s condition was in line with child torture and trauma.

The day before Lane took her daughter to the hospital, she sent text messages to Puryear over the course of three hours saying Amarah was lethargic and immobile after falling off of a bed and hitting her neck hard, according to Harrison. Puryear told Lane over text message to tie her daughter to the bed by her ankles “so she can’t move at all,” and said they could take the child to a doctor once their work schedules allowed for it.

Puryear said at his trial Tuesday he never saw signs Lane was abusing her daughter and thought Amarah was asleep when he came home the night of Aug. 10, Harrison said in a news release. It wasn’t until the next morning, when he picked her up and her head flopped back, that he thought something was wrong, according to Harrison.

Yeatts found that Puryear’s instructions over text message contributed to abuse and neglect and found him guilty, the release states. Puryear’s yearlong sentence is the maximum allowed by a misdemeanor conviction of contributing to the abuse of a child.

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Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5554.

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