|Published:||Jul 16, 2013 12:10 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 16, 2013 12:56 PM EDT|
PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Melissa Harding-Jones, the woman accused in the 1999 disappearance of Pilar Rodriguez, entered a plea of guilty to accessory after the fact today, basically saying she was involved after the child disappeared.
Authorities have long suspected Harding-Jones, the child's babysitter, was involved in the 4-year-old's death, but a body has never been found.
The State dropped the charge for aggravated manslaughter of Pilar Rodriguez.
Harding-Jones lives in Washington State and has been going back and forth between there and Charlotte County since her arrest in 2010. The case dates back to 1999 when Harding-Jones was babysitting the Punta Gorda toddler. The girl disappeared just before her 4th birthday and was never seen again.
Prosecutors had said Harding-Jones stood by while her boyfriend at the time, Keith Wilson, killed the child. Harding-Jones' attorney, Robert Barrar, says he very pleased with today's deal.
Harding-Jones will be sentenced at a later date. As part of the plea agreement, she cannot have contact with the victim's family or Keith Wilson.
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