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Dad admits killing tot who survived cancer, dumping body in NY waterway

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A New York man has pleaded guilty to killing his toddler daughter with a wooden baseball bat before burning her body and dumping her remains in an upstate waterway.

Twenty-five-year-old Ryan Lawrence pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder in a plea deal with Onondaga County prosecutors.

Lawrence admitted beating to death his 21-month-old daughter Maddox outside Syracuse in February. Authorities say he burned the girl’s body in a fire pit, then tied the remains to a cinder block that he dumped in Onondaga Creek in Syracuse.

The child’s body was found by police divers about 36 hours after an Amber Alert was issued for the missing child.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told CBS affiliate WRGB the young girl had battled and beaten cancer in her short life, describing her as a fighter. Fitzpatrick said Lawrence alluded to jealousy over the attention his daughter was getting as a possible motive in the murder.

Prosecutors say the baby’s family agreed to the plea deal. The family cried in court as Lawrence entered the plea.

Lawrence will be sentenced next month to 25 years to life in prison.

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