VIDEO HERE: Grandmother guilty in death of granddaughter
SUNBURY – A Selinsgrove woman could face up to 30 years in prison for the death of her granddaughter. 65-year-old Bertha Dreese was found guilty Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment of another person. Dreese was one of three people in a Sunbury home in October 2010 when her 1-year-old granddaughter Aneela was found dead of hyperthermia. Officials say no one checked on the baby for 19 hours. Dreese is in Northumberland County Prison on $50,000 bail and will be sentenced within 20 days.
President Judge Robert Sacavage said Tuesday Dreese’s actions were reckless, negligent and a direct result of the baby’s death. Commonwealth Attorney Ann Targonski said after the verdict, “It is never happy when the death of a baby has occurred, but I am pleased with the verdict.” Defense Attorney James Best asked Judge Sacavage to lower Dreese’s bail, however the judge denied the request.
Dreese was in the Sunbury home of her daughter, 30-year-old Heidi Yocum of Lewisburg, in October 2010 when 1-year-old Aneela Loner was found dead in her crib. Last week, Dreese testified that she went to Yocum’s home in the afternoon October 15. Yocum’s boyfriend and Aneela’s father, Lopaka Loner was also at the home. Dreese says Loner put the baby down for a nap around 12:30p.m. Yocum returned to the home later in the evening. Between the nap time and 8:00a.m. the next morning, no one checked on the baby. The next morning, Dreese says she found her dead in her crib. An autopsy showed the baby had overheated and died of hyperthermia.
Aneela Loner’s parents have already been charged in the incident. Loner serving up to two years in prison and Yocum is serving a 12-60 year state prison term. (Codi Jade/Sara Bartlett)