July 3, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced the sentencing of 25-year-old Joanie Fowler of Pemiscot County to seven years in prison following her conviction by a Scott County jury of child endangerment.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on the morning of September 30, 2009, Fowler’s boyfriend, Mathew Taylor, told her he hit her two-year-old daughter in the head. Fowler found her daughter unconscious, fighting for breath. However, Fowler did not call for medical help for at least thirty minutes. She lied to a 911 operator about the cause of the accident, claiming her daughter had been involved in an ATV accident. The toddler died of her injuries a few days later. A treating physician testified that had medical help been sought even thirty minutes earlier, the child may have survived.
"The circumstances surrounding this little girl's death are heartbreaking," said Koster. "Efforts that may have saved her life were unnecessarily delayed because of the defendant's desire to protect the man who harmed her daughter. I am grateful that justice has been done for this child."
Matthew Taylor pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is currently serving a twenty-year sentence for his role. Fowler's trial was moved to Scott County, where Missouri Assistant Attorneys General Josh Harrel and Julie Tolle led the prosecution following an investigation by the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office. The jury recommended seven years imprisonment for Fowler, which was imposed by Scott County Circuit Judge David Dolan on June 27.