Rogers Babysitter Sentenced For Infant’s Death

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — A Rogers woman was sentenced Monday (March 26) to five years in prison followed by a five-year suspended sentence for recklessly causing the death of an infant she was babysitting last fall.

Melissa Garcia-Rivera, 21, pleaded guilty in Benton County Circuit Court to one count of manslaughter, a Class C felony. Rogers police and the victim’s family supported the plea agreement, according to Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor.

Garcia-Rivera said she found the 8-month-old girl unresponsive about 8 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2017, and drove her to Mercy Hospital, according to an arrest report.

Garcia-Rivera said the girl was fussy, so she fed her some breast milk and laid her down for a nap around noon. Garcia-Rivera put two pillows and a blanket on her so she couldn’t push off her stomach, according to the report. Police later found the items weighed more than seven pounds.

Garcia-Rivera said she left the girl like that for about an hour, and the girl wasn’t breathing when she went back to check on her.

Garcia-Rivera, who was babysitting up to six kids at one time, said she didn’t intend to kill the girl.