Iowan convicted in death of daughter leaves prison

MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman convicted in the death of her 2-year-old child in 2000 has left prison on parole.

Forty-three-year-old Heidi Watkins was released Monday from the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville. The Iowa Parole Board granted her parole on Dec. 5.

Watkins served nearly 13 years of a 50-year sentence. Watkins was sentenced in December 2000 on one count of multiple acts of child endangerment for the Jan. 4, 2000, death of Shelby Duis.

A judge said prosecutors proved Shelby was injured on at least three occasions before her death. The little girl’s body was found in the Spirit Lake home Watkins shared with her boyfriend, Jesse Wendelsdorf, who was acquitted of murder and sexual abuse charges in a separate trial.

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