Mother pleads guilty to son's death - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Mother pleads guilty to son's death

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --In court Wednesday Kimberly Lightwine pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse in connection to the death of her 19-year-old son, Austin Anderson. 

Back in 2016, both Lightwine and Anderson were reported missing, then found in a field with nothing on but underwear. Anderson, who was blind in both eyes and also autistic, was found dead just feet away from his mother due to a swollen brain from dehydration. 

According to authorities, after Lightwine was found, she told them she was the one responsible for her son's death. However, her attorney, Jason Coatney, told FOX 5  there is more to the story.  He believes Lightwine was kidnapped, drugged, sexually assaulted and then left in the field with no memory of the events that transpired. 

Coatney also claims Lightwine would never purposely hurt her son, but she does realize she was in charge of him and failed to care for him which led her to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. 

Lightwine, who  once faced a second-degree murder charge for the death of her son, now,  as a result of her plea agreement, will serve just 120 days in a substance abuse treatment program with the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Coatney says in light of the agreement,  there is a sense of relief, yet there are also so many questions that remain without answers.

If Lightwine successfully completes the program, she will be released on five years probation.  However, if she is not successful, she could spend up to seven years in prison.

A judge has scheduled her sentencing to take place on June 29. 

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