A Kokomo mother who pleaded guilty to a Level 5 felony charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury in her 10-month-old son’s April 2021 death was sentenced Thursday to four years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Nicole Groleau, 31, is expected to serve one year in jail, one year split evenly between in-home detention and work release and two years of supervised probation, according to court officials.

Three other charges, including a single count of battery with death to a person under 14 years of age, a Level 2 felony, and two counts of battery resulting in bodily injury to a person under 14 years of age, both Level 5 felonies, were all dismissed per the terms of the plea.

“It’s not a small thing,” Howard County Superior 4 Judge Hans Pate stated prior to rendering his sentence on Thursday. “... An innocent baby is dead.”

It was April 25, 2021, that police were dispatched to Groleau’s residence in the 1600 block of Rue Royale North shortly before 1 p.m. and were taken into a rear den area, where they observed Ace lying on the floor with only a diaper on.

Police also observed “bruises to Ace’s forehead and the sides of his face and temple area,” according to a probable cause affidavit, as well as “bruising under the child’s chin and neck area that looked like fingerprints.”

The child was then transported to an area hospital, where the nurses on scene also pointed out “suspicious bruising,” with several of the bruises appearing to be in various stages of healing, while others appeared to be as fresh as one or two days old, court documents noted.

During her interview with police shortly after the baby’s death, Nicole stated she was at work at the time the 911 call came in and she heard the dispatch come over the radio.

Further investigation into the incident eventually led police to also arrest Nicole’s nephew, Tyler Groleau, in connection to the case.

Tyler is facing charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury, both Level 1 felonies.

His arrest came after investigators argued it was actually Tyler Groleau — who was babysitting the baby while Nicole was at work April 25, 2021— and his direct negligence that led to Ace’s death.

During his interview with police, Tyler Groleau said the boy fell asleep on the day in question, so he swaddled the boy in a plush blanket and rested his head on some clothing so that he wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions, noting that this was the typical sleeping arrangement, according to court documents

At some point in time, according to Tyler Groleau’s police interview, the baby reportedly woke up and started “gurgling” and was struggling to breathe, the affidavit stated.

During a later search of the room in which Ace was found, investigators located several drug paraphernalia items, including a “meth pipe” containing burnt residue on the couch where the infant was supposedly placed, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The affidavit added that investigators also located a clear plastic bag and aluminum foil on or near the couch and Tyler Groleau reportedly admitted that those items — except for the “meth pipe” — belonged to him.

Tyler Groleau has a pretrial conference for the allegations against him scheduled for Feb. 16 inside Howard Superior Court 4.

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