A mother of a 2-month old baby boy who died when his car seat tipped over on a grimy mattress where the entire family slept, was sentenced to four years of probation in the infant’s death.
Amy Elkins, 35, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, was initially sentenced Monday to six years in prison with the stipulation from Madison County Circuit Court Judge Neil Schroeder that she won’t be required to serve any time behind bars if she successfully completes four years of probation. Her husband Tim Elkins, also 35, is serving a six year prison sentence for his guilty plea in the asphyxiation death of the couple’s infant son Matthew on Jan. 31.
The death occurred in a house that had literally been overtaken by rooms of trash bags stuffed with garbage that had accumulated for more than a year. Shocked police, including Madison County Sheriff John Lakin, said it was the worst case of a house that had been allowed to fall into ruin while a family with multiple children lived there. The home was infested with roaches and rats but the children told investigators that they loved their parents and each other despite the horrific living conditions.
Probation includes two pages of requirements; she cannot associate in any way with her husband Tim Elkins, that she not have unsupervised overnight visits with six of her younger children until Juvenile Court approves, that she cooperate fully with any further investigations by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, that she maintain stable employment, that she notify DCFS of anyone who visits her residence, that she submits to any search of her person, residence or vehicle, that she actively engages in all family counseling sessions with her children, that she attends parenting classes and notifies the probation department of any change of address. It is believed that Amy Elkins now resides in Worden.
The Elkins family included nine children, eight of whom were living in the garbage-filled home at 406 N. Main St. in New Douglas. The story of the family’s struggle over the years leading up to Matthew’s death was featured in an investigative story published in the BND on December 10, and was carried several days earlier online. The story — “Sometime in the Night — drew widespread interest and was published online in all 30 newspapers throughout the United States of the McClatchy chain, owners of the BND.
The eight Elkins children who were living in the now condemned home, are residing with relatives including their aunt and grandmother who have homes nearby in New Douglas. All attend school.