Former Babysitter Sentenced for Baby Death From '92

A suburban Philadelphia woman has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for the death of an infant for whom she was baby-sitting two decades ago.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Montgomery county family speaks exclusively to NBC 10'S Denise Nakano about coming face-to-face with their baby's killer in court, 20 years after five-month old Ryan Baurley was suffocated. (Published Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012)

    The family of a baby boy who was killed two decades ago came face to face with their son's killer during her sentencing on Tuesday.

    Melissa Haskell, 39, formerly of Pottstown, was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for the death of an infant for whom she was baby-sitting 20 years ago.

    Haskell choked back tears as she was sentenced Wednesday in Montgomery County Court on a third-degree murder conviction.

    She again maintained her innocence in the August 1992 death of 5-month-old Ryan Baurley at a King of Prussia home, saying “I loved that child like he was my own.”
     
    Judge Garrett Page said “the jury has spoken” and imposed the maximum sentence allowed under the 1992 law.

    The family of the baby attended the sentencing. They tell NBC10 they are finally getting closure after two decades.

    "I looked at her and said, 'I'm in my last stage of grief and acceptance,'" said Lisa Baurley, Ryan's mother. "'I'm not angry at you but I do believe you need to pay for the crime of taking Ryan away from us."

    A coroner originally ruled Ryan died from sudden infant death syndrome. But his parents, Ryan and Lisa Baurley, always believed he'd been murdered.

    "We knew it but we could not prove it," said Lisa.

    They kept it a secret, even from their own family, until new evidence emerged in the case a year and a half ago. Haskell's estranged husband came forward, telling police Haskell admitted to suffocating the baby. A jury found Haskell guilty of third degree murder.

    The Baurley's two children, who were born after Ryan's death, tell NBC10 they wonder what life would've been like with an older brother.

    "Sitting in court during the trial it was like wow, I could've had an older brother if this woman wasn't babysitting that day," said Dyana Baurley, Ryan's sister.

    "It's really traumatizing for me," said Rob Baurley, Ryan's brother. "I always wanted an older brother."

    The prosecutor in the case tells NBC10 he is pleased with the result.

    “This family has been waiting for 20 years,” said Christopher Maloney, the Montgomery County Deputy D.A. “Although it’s been slow in coming, justice has overtaken the wicked.”

    Haskell's attorney could not be reached for comment.