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Alabama couple get life in prison for abusing 18-month-old foster child

An Alabama couple was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison after being convicted of abusing their foster child, who suffered a skull fracture and brain bleed, a prosecutor says.

Russell County District Attorney Rick Chancey said the life sentences were handed down against April and John McDowell, both 32, of Fort Mitchell, an unincorporated community about 10 miles south of Phenix City, al.com reported. The McDowells were convicted in October of aggravated child abuse after a nearly two-week trial.


On Aug. 22, 2022, the McDowells’ then-18-month-old foster daughter required an ambulance after she was “going in and out of consciousness,” April McDowell told a 911 dispatcher. Deputies later determined the child had injuries that were not consistent with the guardian’s story, according to authorities.

Initial medical reports indicated the child had multiple injuries in different stages of healing that were not consistent with normal injuries to a toddler but were consistent with abuse, officials said. The McDowells were taken into custody a short time later and the child was removed from their home.

The McDowells had been foster parents of the toddler since May 2020.

“This child is now with a very loving family, and we appreciate their great support and help in this case,” Chancey told television station WRBL after the October convictions. “Our hopes and prayers are with this child as she grows and puts this chapter of her life behind her.”

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