A jury on Friday found the mother of a missing toddler guilty of unlawful conduct towards a child.
The jury of eight women and four men unanimously delivered a guilty verdict to 23-year-old Zinah Jennings after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations. Judge Knox McMahon then gave her the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Jennings’s son, 18-month-old Amir, has been missing since November of last year. He and his mother were recorded on a bank’s security video in late November— the last time prosecutors can prove he was with Jennings.
Prosecutors brought witnesses forward who made the case that Jennings viewed her child as a burden and was trying to get rid of him. Columbia Police are still searching for the child, but they say Jennings has been uncooperative in the investigation. Prosecutors played video recordings during the trial of Jennings telling investigators that she left the boy someplace safe, but refusing to say where that was.
Jennings gave birth last week to a daughter. It was not clear who would care for the girl, although Jennings’s mother has said she would do it.