Parents of toddler killed by dehydration plead to murder


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The parents of 19-month-old child who was deprived water and food for days will go to prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Andrea Todd and Alexander Birkenmeyer appeared in Kent County Circuit Court where they each accepted plea deals that will significantly reduce the sentences they could have received if convicted by a jury.

The child, Yurik Birkenmeyer was found dead in his crib March 16 at his family’s home in the on Longstreet Avenue north of 28th Street SW in Wyoming.

The temperature of the home was 85 to 90 degrees thanks to a space heater in the room.

At a hearing in August, David Start — a forensic pathologist, testified the boy weighed 22 pounds at death, the same weight as he was at nine months, according to the child’s medical records.

In court Monday, both parents pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse.

As the details of the crime were outlined, neither parent showed any emotion.

In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor agreed to a cap on the minimum sentence of 16 years for 27-year-old Todd and 20 years for 31-year-old Birkenmeyer.

Todd had agreed to testify against the child’s father whose sentencing guidelines could have had him facing a minimum sentence of as much as 46 years.

The maximum sentence will be determined by Judge Mark Trusock on Oct. 31 and could be as high as life in prison.

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