Mom of autistic girl pleads guilty to child abuse

In a photo provided by the Benzie County Sheriff, Kelli Stapleton is shown in a booking photo. (AP Photo/Benzie County Sheriff, HOPD)
In a photo provided by the Benzie County Sheriff, Kelli Stapleton is shown in a booking photo. (AP Photo/Benzie County Sheriff, HOPD)

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan woman accused of trying to kill her autistic daughter has pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse.

Benzie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson says Kelli Stapleton entered the plea Tuesday morning. Stapleton had been scheduled to go on trial Wednesday on a charge of attempted murder.

Tang-Anderson says no sentencing date was set. The maximum punishment for the charge is life in prison.

The 46-year-old Stapleton is accused of trying to kill herself and her teenage daughter last year by carbon monoxide poisoning by igniting charcoal grills inside a van.

Isabelle was 14 at the time. She has severe autism and sometimes has violent outbursts.

Stapleton’s blog had chronicled the challenges her family faced while caring for her.

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