- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A South Texas jury spared a couple imprisonment after finding that they had neglected their newborn and three older children while living on a beach.

The Nueces County jury deliberated two hours in Corpus Christi before sentencing Ryan and Heather Sanders to community supervision Friday.

Jurors convicted the pair Thursday of injury to a child by negligence and manufacturing methamphetamine and could have given them life imprisonment.

An affidavit says the daughters, aged 4 and younger, lived in a tent and were exposed to methamphetamine. The three older girls were malnourished, and Heather Sanders gave birth on the beach to the fourth daughter just before the couple’s April 2013 arrest.

Defense attorneys argued the father was unemployed and the mother had postpartum depression.

The children are now with relatives.

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