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An Oregon woman who shoved her 13-month-old son into a freezer and allegedly admitted that she waterboarded him “out of spite” and to “test” the loyalty of the child’s father, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Sharday McDonald of Gresham, Oregon, did not kill her son during the abusive episode in October 2021. The 30-year-old mother did, however, plead guilty in July 2023 to first-degree criminal mistreatment.
In addition to the 30-day jail sentence, McDonald will be on supervised probation for three years. It is unclear whether she has been prohibited from contact with her child altogether or on a limited basis.
Gresham Police arrived at McDonald’s Portland-area home two years ago to conduct a welfare check after receiving a report that a woman in the residence had put a child inside a freezer. According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Law&Crime, when police arrived they could hear McDonald through the door screaming at someone on her phone. That person was later identified to be the child’s father, Kendrick Neal.
“I’m about to show you real quick. You don’t want him?… Let me show you about this little f—— baby, I don’t f—— give a f— about,” McDonald could be heard yelling, according to police.
When police knocked on the door, the talking stopped and McDonald opened it a moment later holding her son in a blanket.
“Defendant Sharda Brianna McDonald told the officer that she was not trying to hurt, harm or kill her son [name redacted] by drowning him or putting him in the freezer,” police records show.
According to local Portland, Oregon, ABC affiliate KATU, McDonald told the officer she had done this to the child “out of spite.”
The officer who arrested her reported that he reviewed pictures of the child being abused once the father arrived on the scene. The officer said it appeared the baby was trying to hold his breath as water was being poured down his face and over his nose.
In one of the photos shared with police, the child was almost being held upside down in his onesie as the water flowed over him, according to Seattle FOX Affiliate KCPQ.
She allegedly told police after her arrest she had done these things to her son to “test” the father and to see if he “gave a f— at all.”
Prosecutors who spoke with a pediatrician who reviewed the images said it was very likely that the child had struggled to breathe and that it could have killed him.
McDonald was charged with two counts of criminal mistreatment in the first degree plus reckless endangerment of an individual. Prosecutors also charged her with a count of identity theft and tampering with a witness though that was related to another case. As part of a deal before sentencing this week, McDonald pleaded guilty to the mistreatment, identity theft and witness tampering charge.
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