Woman Pleads Guilty To Assault, Kidnapping Of Adopted Children

Date: 2011-10-11

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – A woman accused of not giving her two adopted children food or water entered a plea deal on Tuesday.

Shelley Blair pleaded guilty to four charges including especially aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping and aggravated assault. She faced 15 charges including aggravated child neglect.

In return for the plea, the other charges were dropped.

In October 2008, police found the 13-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy that Blair was caring for riding bikes down Columbia Pike. The children said they were running away from home.

They told police they were routinely left at home alone while Blair worked. Sometimes they were bound with duct tape to prevent them from escaping.

Both said they were required to go to the bathroom in buckets kept in their rooms.

The boy told police after removing duct tape from his arms, he knocked a hole in the wall of his room to escape then he freed his sister.

The girl had a cut on her nose and she told police it was from a beating.

Officials said both were extremely malnourished.

Officials said the children, now 15 and 16, are doing much better.

"One of the children has been adopted and to my understanding is doing quite well with that family. The second child present in court today and is in the custody of DCS," said Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper.

Prosecutors said they did not want to put the children through a trial and make them relive their experiences.

"We spoke with both of them before we came to any sort of agreement on a plea in this case and both of them I would anticipate will be called upon at the sentencing hearing to discuss their thoughts on the whole situation," she added.

Blair faces from 14 to 22 years in prison. She will be sentenced December 7. It will be up to the judge to decide how long the terms and conditions of the sentence including contact with children.

According to court records, she has three prior child abuse convictions.

Her trial was scheduled to start Wednesday.

Another suspect was charged in the case. Anthony Talley, described as a family friend, faces eight counts of child neglect, four counts of aggravated assault, and one count of kidnapping. His trial is scheduled to start in April.

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