The woman who interfered with a police investigation into the disappearance of Wichita toddler Jhornee Bland last year was ordered Wednesday to serve 18 months of probation.
Tyerria M. Miles pleaded guilty last month to one count of interfering with law enforcement. She was babysitting 2-year-old Jhornee when the girl died during an overnight stay at a local hotel, where she and others had been attending a pool party, in May 2016.
Instead of reporting the girl’s death, authorities have said Miles put her body in a car and then left her in a field in the 1900 block of North Hydraulic.
Asked about the girl’s whereabouts by her mother and police, Miles claimed she’d dropped Jhornee off with an acquaintance living in an apartment near 31st Street South and Oliver. Eventually, after a check of apartments in the area didn’t turn up the toddler, Miles told police the location of Jhornee’s body.
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The coroner’s office was unable to determine how Jhornee died. Police arrested Miles after finding the toddler’s body but released her a few days later.
The 18-month probationary term carries an underlying prison sentence of 11 months. But Miles, now a stay-at-home mother, won’t be incarcerated if she follows the rules of her probation, including earning a GED, avoiding contact with Jhornee’s family and paying $350 in attorney’s fees.
Standing in a courtroom filled with Jhornee’s supporters on Wednesday afternoon, the girl’s mother told District Judge Jeff Dewey, “Probation is not what I want. Period.” She still had unanswered questions about her daughter’s death, Jackquailine Hardin said.
“Something had to happen” to her, she said in court.
Miles turned down a chance to speak on her own behalf in court. Her defense attorney, Mark Orr, noted that there was no plea deal negotiated in the case and that Miles had pleaded guilty as charged.
“Miss Miles, you now have the opportunity to avoid prison through probation,” Dewey said after handing down the sentence. “I expect you to take advantage of it.”