WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Sixteen days after a Wichita Falls father was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his 1-year-old daughter who died of starvation in 2021, the child’s mother pleaded and was also sentenced for the child’s death.

Sage Angel Rose Wright, 23, of Wichita Falls, pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder and two counts of abandoning or endangering a child on Friday, May 5, 2023, during a scheduled status hearing in the 78th District Court. A charge of injury to a child was dismissed.

District Court Judge Meredith Kennedy sentenced Wright to life in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institution for murder and time served of 687 days on the endangerment charges. The sentences will run concurrently.

Now, both parents of a child who was in such a state of starvation that officials said she weighed less when she died than when she was born will spend their lives behind bars.

Wright’s plea and sentencing come just over two weeks after the child’s father and co-defendant in this case, Christian Miguel Bishop-Torrence, 25, of Wichita Falls, pleaded guilty to the same charges and received the same sentence on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

WFPD: Child had likely been ‘wasting away for months’

The charges stem from June 2021, when police said Bishop-Torrence brought his one-year-old daughter to the emergency room at United Regional just before 11:30 p.m. on June 11, reporting that she had stopped breathing and was unresponsive.

The child was pronounced dead less than a half-hour after she arrived at the emergency room.

According to officials in the emergency room on the night of June 11 and the morning of June 12, 2021, the one-year-old girl “appeared extremely malnourished and neglected”. They said she weighed only eight pounds, roughly a third of what she should’ve weighed at her age.

The affidavit also said the child had dirt plastered to her skin, as well as circular blisters on her lower back and buttocks.

Bishop-Torrence would later admit that the child has been losing weight since March 2021 but said that he and the girl’s mother never sought medical attention for the child. He said he didn’t know when the last check-up was for his daughter because the mother handled all of that.

A search of records by officials with United Regional revealed that Wright had failed to bring the child to her 2-month, 6-month, 9-month, and 12-month well-child check.

According to the affidavit, during an interview with police in June 2021, following the death of the child, Wright told authorities that she “failed to connect” with the child in the way she connected with her two other children.

Autopsy reveals starvation was the cause of death

Dr. Suzanne Dakil, who was a key witness for the prosecution during the capital murder trial of James Staley in March 2023, conducted a forensic assessment of the victim after her death.

According to the affidavit, Dr. Dakil said she suspected that the victim stopped receiving adequate nutrition sometime after October 2020. She also concluded that the victim dying as a result of some medical issue would’ve been highly unlikely.

Dr. Dakil wrote in her report that even if there was a medical problem, the victim had likely been wasting away for months and medical care was never sought.

The affidavit said Dr. Dyer at the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on the victim and concluded the child died as a result of starvation, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Noted in the autopsy report was the weight of the child’s body at death, which was less than that at her birth exactly one year and three days prior to her death.

According to the affidavit, Dr. Dyer’s autopsy report noted that the child’s body was severely emaciated with dirt, debris, and insect matter located in the hair. It also noted that the chest was symmetrical with emaciation including visibility of all rib structures.

Following the plea hearing and sentencing of Bishop-Torrence on April 19, 2023, John Gillespie, Wichita County’s District Attorney, said he was at the emergency room the night the girl was admitted in June 2021, and he said it’s one of the most shocking cases he’s ever seen.

“I got a phone call and I stood in the ER,” Gillespie said. “The sergeant with the WFPD said I needed to see this for myself, and I stood there in the ER room with the baby on the table, and I’ll never get those images out of my mind.”

Both Wright and Bishop-Torrence will be eligible for parole in 2053.