Couple sentenced to decades in prison after 5-year-old found buried in backyard

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Mother and her boyfriend pleaded guilty in the death of her special needs child (KTRK)

A mother who was initially charged with murder in the death of her 5-year-old son who was found buried in the yard pleaded guilty to lesser charges Thursday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Her boyfriend was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in the boy's death and backyard burial.

Jordan Rodriguez was found buried in the backyard of a Cleveland home in December.

Larissa Rodriguez, 34, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children, and gross abuse of a corpse. A judge sentenced her to a total of 25 years in prison.

After Rodriguez pleaded guilty, the state prosecutor told the court that Jordan was born prematurely, and was non-verbal. She said that he was buried in a 4-foot by 4-foot grave in the family's backyard, wrapped in blankets and trash bags by Rodriguez and her boyfriend Christopher Rodriguez after they woke up to find him dead on September 22.

The boy's body wasn't discovered until December. A tip call from Christopher's brother, serving in the military in Pakistan, led authorities to the gruesome discovery behind the family's home in Cleveland, reported WEWS-TV.

Christopher Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the same four charges as Larissa. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, the maximum sentence available for those charges.

Neither Rodriguez is eligible for parole.

Judge Nancy Russo teared up during Christopher Rodriguez's sentencing.

"What we do every day is so hard," she said. "People don't give any of us the credit that we deserve for dealing with the horrors of the world before us. And Mr. Rodriguez -- this is a horror. I know as a judge I'm not supposed to show emotion, and in 22 years I never have. This is one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life."
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parents chargedchild deathu.s. & worldOhio