OWYHEE COUNTY — Five children of a Homedale mother who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter this month are in counseling, Owyhee County Prosecutor Doug Emery said.

Veronica Herrera, 29, burned the body of her 2-year-old daughter in a barrel in August after she said the girl died of an injury.

“She indicated that the child was injured and she did not pursue medical attention for the child,” Emery said.

Herrera said she burned the girl’s body out of fear of losing custody of her other children, according to The Associated Press.

One of the prosecution’s theories, Emery said, was the two-year-old was abused, tortured and killed by her mother, who then burned the body for several days to cover up the crime.

Prosecutors reduced charges against Herrera from first-degree murder to manslaughter. Herrera also pleaded guilty to five other felonies, including failure to report a death, destruction of evidence and three counts of injury to a child.

Two of the counts of injury to a child are because Herrera caused her other children to assist her with the burning, Emery said.

“It was a very sad case,” Emery said. “The effects of this crime are very long reaching.”

Herrera could serve up to 60 years in prison.

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