After receiving prison sentence for suffocating infant, Pekin mother gives birth again

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PEKIN − Hours after she was sentenced to prison last week for the suffocation of her 11-month-old daughter, Angel Vanduker gave birth to another child.

Chief Assistant State's Attorney Kevin Johnson said the Pekin woman went into labor late Friday night and was on her way to UnityPoint Health-Methodist when the child was born.

Soon after the birth, the infant was taken into protective custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. On Tuesday, a judge sided with Tazewell County prosecutors to continue keeping the child in DCFS custody, Johnson said.

A court hearing on whether the child should remain in DCFS custody will be held at a later date, he said.

Vanduker, 21, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in November in Tazewell County Circuit Court in connection with Nova Tucker's death on Sept. 24, 2020. The plea was "blind," meaning there was no agreement on a sentence and she could have received anywhere from probation to up to 14 years behind bars.

Rescue workers were called to Vanduker's home on Sept. 21, 2020, on a report of an unresponsive baby. The little girl was taken off life support three days later and pronounced dead. Vanduker initially told police the girl had choked on a waffle, according to court records.

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But after the girl's death and learning that rescue workers found no evidence of food, she told police she had grown "frustrated and tired" with trying to get the baby to lie down with her on the couch, according to court records.

She put a blanket around the little girl and held her head tightly to her chest until the baby stopped squirming, according to court records. Vanduker dozed off and awoke a short time later to find the infant unresponsive.

Vanduker must serve at least half of her sentence as the charge of involuntary manslaughter allows for day-for-day "good-time" credit to apply if an inmate complies with all the rules.

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The hearing Friday was moved up a week to accommodate her pregnancy, Johnson said. She had been free on bond until March, when she was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly striking a medical person. That case is set for a review on Aug. 22.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Pekin woman gives birth after getting prison sentence in infant's death