Crime & Courts

Mother’s boyfriend admits to killing 2-year-old baby girl who went missing a year ago

Iviona Lewis
Iviona Lewis Kansas Bureau of Investigation

More than a year after a Kansas toddler went missing and was found dead, the boyfriend of the child’s mother has pleaded guilty to murder.

Chaz Stephens, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree intentional murder in the March 2018 death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter in Hoisington, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release.

Stephens was originally charged with first-degree murder. The plea deal led prosecutors to lessen the charge and dismiss other charges. Sentencing is set for June 3.

Iviona Lewis was first reported missing March 20, 2018, and at that time she had already been missing for more than 48 hours. The baby girl had last been seen wearing only a blue pull-up diaper, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

A day later, the KBI announced that she had been found dead in rural Barton County and Stephens was in jail in connection with her death.

An obituary for Iviona Marae May Lewis’ death states that she died March 18, 2018. She was the daughter of Devonte Lewis and Annissia Houp.

“Iviona was a loving, smart, kind and gentle girl, who had the innate ability to lift anyone’s spirits,” states the Bryant Funeral Home obituary. “A mother hen, Iviona took cheerful pride in caring for her brothers.”

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