CRAIG, Colo. (CBS4) -- A Craig woman was found guilty Wednesday of contributing to one young daughter's death and another's severe injuries when the family's car became stuck and the three were exposed to bitter overnight temperatures in the Moffat County backcountry.
Kaylee Ann Messerly, 36, was convicted by a jury of two felony counts of child abuse.
Messerly took her daughters, an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old, on a drive that ended on Moffat County Road 54 in March of last year. Messerly led the girls from the car.
Rescuers found the three a mile away from the vehicle.
Emma Smith, the 18-month-old, died during the second night. She was wearing no shoes, socks or hat.
Alena Smith, 3, had both her lower legs amputated during her recovery.
Messerly herself lost several toes due to frostbite.
Messerly tested positive for methamphetamine consumption following the incident.
"These tragedies were preventable, and those children were placed in a position that they could not get themselves out of," Matthew Tjosvold, Assistant District Attorney for the 14th Judicial District, stated in a press release. "The evidence showed that methamphetamine abuse was a contributing factor. There are no winners in these types of cases. Emma Smith is lost to her family, Alena Smith has life-altering injuries, and now Kaylee Messerly faces a prison sentence for her actions. We thank the jury for their attention and service in this trial, particularly given the tragic subject matter."
Messerly faces between 16 and 48 years in state prison for Emma's death, and four to 16 years for Alena's injuries. She is scheduled for sentencing in September.
Messerly's trial was scheduled to last eight days. The jury announced the verdict on the third day.
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