- Associated Press - Thursday, January 17, 2019

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty in the abuse death of his then-girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in southwest Missouri.

The Joplin Globe reports that Leonard Valdez pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the November 2017 death of Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey. The plea agreement effectively drops a second count of child abuse resulting in death and caps his sentence at 22 years.

Court records say Valdez called the boy’s mother while she was at work and told her that Jonathan was sick. Jonathan was transported from a Joplin apartment to a local hospital, and later to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he died .

Medical staff determined that Jonathan suffered injuries consistent with head trauma.

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