NC woman pleads guilty in her niece's death
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina woman is pleading guilty to killing her 15-month-old niece in a case in which social workers are accused of ignoring, then covering up the child's abuse until after her death.
Thirty-nine-year-old Ladybird Powell pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter. She faces 12 years in prison.
Powell was arrested in January 2012 -- one year after Aubrey Littlejohn's death.
She was taking care of Aubrey while the toddler's mother was in jail awaiting trial in a marijuana-trafficking case.
The plea is the latest development in a case that sparked anger in the Native American community.
Aubrey was a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, some of whom say the Swain County Department of Social Services didn't do enough to protect Aubrey and other Native American children.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)