UPDATE: Five years in prison for mother of girl found dead in Castlewood home

January 4, 2022
Mike Tanner

HAYTI, S.D.–The mother of a two year-old girl who died in Hamlin County was sentenced to five years in prison today (Tuesday).

KWAT News was in the courtroom in Hayti to cover the sentencing. 

Thirty two year-old Josephine Raymundo was sentenced under the terms of plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to Child Abuse or Cruelty to a Minor–a Class Three felony. In exchange for the plea, charges of First and Second Degree Manslaughter were dropped.

Hamlin County State’s Attorney John Delzer called it a, “difficult case with complex facts” that included reports from two coroners. Delzer recommended the maximum five years in prison that was agreed to in the plea agreement, calling Raymundo a, “disastrous mother” who had, “not taken full responsibility” for her actions. He told the court prison time in this case was, “essential.”

Defense attorney Scott Bratland says Raymundo made a, “horrible decision” when she decided to leave Jorgan Eagle Star with Raymundo’s biological mother, who he called a, “horrible person.” He requested a suspended imposition of sentence. 

Medical personnel were called to a Castlewood home on June 2, 2020 on a report of an unresponsive child. Jorgan was transported to Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown where she was pronounced dead. 

Raymundo admitted exposing Jorgan to the care of her mother in the week’s leading up to her death, despite knowing her mother was an abusive alcoholic.

A sobbing Raymundo told the court it was a, “risky, preventable situation” for which she has, “deep regret.”

Prior to sentencing, the court also heard from Jorgan’s father, who appeared via closed circuit television from a jail in Winner, and from the Aberdeen couple who’ve served as foster parents for several of Jorgan’s siblings.

Circuit Judge Robert Spears called it a case, “with many moving parts.” He said Raymundo, “downplayed her involvement in the abuse” her kids were exposed to.

He imposed a ten year prison sentence, with five years suspended. Raymundo was fined $5,000 plus court costs, and was ordered to undergo an anger management assessment, chemical dependency evaluation and successfully complete parenting classes.

She was remanded to the custody of the Hamlin County Sheriff’s Office, and will serve her time at the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre.