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Iowa City Mother Accused in Drunk Toddler Case Pleads Guilty

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - An Iowa City mother accused of allowing her toddler to become drunk on alcohol has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28.

Natasha Kriener, 27, was supposed to be tried on felony charges of child endangerment causing bodily injury and neglect or abandonment on Feb. 12, but she entered a guilty plea Monday. Her trial originally was set in September, but she failed to appear for a pretrial conference and disappeared for nearly three months until being arrested on a $20,000 warrant on Nov. 1.

Details of the plea agreement aren't known. The charges she faces come with a combined maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Kriener originally was arrested Feb. 17 after the father of her two sons took their 23-month-old to the emergency room because he was crying and had poor balance, according to a criminal complaint. The father had picked up the children for a weekly visit when he discovered the symptoms.

At the hospital, the boy's blood alcohol content was recorded at .097, over the .08 level required for an adult to convicted of drunken driving, according to Iowa City police. The toddler was showing signs of intoxication including poor balance, discomfort, and he was crying, according to police.

When officers talked with Kriener that night about her son's hospitalization, her blood alcohol content was .251, according to police. The toddler's older sibling told investigators that his brother "drank pop and got sick," officers reported.