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Elkhart man not present when sentenced to 23 years in toddler’s death

GOSHEN – A northern Indiana man who pleaded guilty to felony neglect of a dependent and felony obstruction of justice has been sentenced to 23 years in prison even though he didn’t show for the sentencing.

The Goshen News reports 32-year-old Daniel Pennington of Elkhart was not in court Thursday.

Police say 19-month-old Mariah Gibson was killed two years ago when she fell from a car driven by Pennington. The girl’s mother, Mande Turner-Berger, who also was Pennington’s girlfriend, was the front seat passenger.

Turner-Berger initially told police her daughter had been struck by a car in a hit-and-run crash. Investigators determined that Turner-Berger had misled police. She later pleaded guilty to felony charges of neglect of a dependent and obstruction of justice.

Turner-Berger was sentenced to five years in prison.

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