Mother Sentenced In Toddler Son's 2019 Death Near Shiprock

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for the 2019 death of her toddler son, whom she left behind after driving while intoxicated in rural northwestern New Mexico.

Tonya Mae Dale was sentenced Monday in federal court in Albuquerque after previously pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 21-month-old Kyron Kelewood, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Dale said in a letter to District Judge Kea Riggs that her son would still be alive had she made better decisions.

Dale admitted to driving while intoxicated on alcohol and methamphetamine in an area north of Shiprock the night of June 26, 2019. With the car stuck, she took her son and an unidentified baby also riding with them while looking for help.

Dale left both children by an empty water tank the next morning and continued on.

By the time she returned with emergency personnel, Kyron had wandered off. His body was found the next day after a search by multiple agencies and volunteers.

An autopsy determined the boy had died from exposure to the weather and other elements. ___ This story has been changed to correct the defendant's name to Tonya Mae Dale, not Tonya Dale Male.