New Castle father sentenced to 40 years for role in 4-year-old son's death

NEW CASTLE, Ind. — A New Castle man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in his 4-year-old son's death.

Jacob Thomas Davis, 30, had pleaded guilty in December to neglect in a dependent resulting in death, a Level 1 felony that carried a maximum 40-year sentence. Under the terms of a plea agreement, a count of murder was dismissed.

Davis — also listed in court documents at an address in Carthage — was sentenced Friday by Henry Circuit Court 2 Judge Kit Crane.

Davis and a woman reported in court documents to be his girlfriend, Michelle Maylee Key, 36, were arrested in June 2020, five months after young Darien Davis died in their mobile home along Glenwood Drive.

An autopsy report said the boy — who weighed 25 pounds — died as a result of dehydration, malnutrition and neglect.

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Court documents also indicated he had "cuts, abrasions and bruising" over much of his body.

The day of his death, authorities said they found a large amount of cat and dog feces in the mobile home, and also noted its thermostat was set at 90 degrees,

Four other children in addition to Darien lived in the trailer with Jacob Davis and Key.

Employees at a New Castle pediatrics office who had treated Darien told authorities they had not seen him since March 2019. At that time, he weighed 33 pounds.

Evidence in the case also included text messages between Jacob Davis and Key, at times allegedly discussing Darien's deteriorating condition.

"I'm so over dealing with him," Key — who was not the boy's mother — reportedly wrote 10 days before the child's death, calling the situation "annoying."

Key — also charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death — is scheduled to stand trial on April 17.

Douglas Walker is a news reporter for The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at

This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: New Castle child's death results in 40-year sentence for father