NC parents plead guilty in death of baby daughter

Heather Gwynn (left) and Antonio Maurice Gwynn in photos from WFMY.

WENTWORTH, N.C. (WFMY) — A day after she testified against her husband in the death of their 17-month-old daughter, Toni, Heather Gwynn pleaded guilty for her part in the 2013 crime.

Friday morning, Gwynn pleaded guilty to felony voluntary manslaughter and two counts of contributing to the delinquent, abused or neglected condition of a minor. She was sentenced to between 58 and 82 months (4.8 to 6.8 years) in prison.

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As a result of the plea deal, Gwynn’s parental rights to her other children were terminated.

She is to have no contact with them during her time in prison and can only have supervised visits when she is released, the judge said.

Heather Gwynn also took investigators to a pond where she said her husband threw out a blanket that was evidence in the case. A Guilford County Dive Team found it in October and say it was still intact.

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Thursday, Antonio Maurice Gwynn pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to between 124 and 161 months (10.3 and 13.4 years) in prison. He also signed away his parental rights to his other minor children and can’t have any contact with them.

Once Gwynn is released he can only have supervised visits.

The investigation started on July 11, 2013, when Eden police officers responded to a call about a child not breathing. Officers found Toni Gwynn unconscious and cold to touch. The child was later pronounced dead.

An autopsy revealed the child died of asphyxia due to a combination of chest compressions and smothering.

During the investigation, officers learned the child had been strapped in her infant carrier for 16 hours and the straps were too tight. A blanket had been wrapped around the child’s mouth and head.

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