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Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: FRI 12/21/01
Section: A
Page: 38
Edition: 3 STAR

Mother pleads guilty in death of son, gets 24 yearsin prison


A mother accused of child abuse in the death of her son pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Praveena Joshi , 33, of the 5300 block of Deep Forest Drive in northwest Houston pleaded guilty to injury by omission, a first-degree felony. The charge means that, by failing to act, she caused injury to a child in her care.

She could have been sentenced to up to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine if she had been convicted.

A Harris County grand jury had indicted her on a charge of serious bodily injury to a child, also a first-degree felony.

Her 5-year-old son, Sameer Joshi , died Feb. 21 at Ben Taub Hospital about three hours after collapsing at the family's apartment.

An autopsy showed that Sameer suffered head trauma and a broken collarbone just before his death, investigators said.

Sameer's body also showed signs of past abuse, including bruising and five bite marks on the torso, police said.

Joshi , who was home alone with her son when he quit breathing, told police she heard something hit the wall in another room. She said she went to check and found her son with his teeth clenched.

Because the case did not go to trial, prosecutors presented no evidence about how the child's injuries might have occurred.

Sameer had been living with grandparents in India until six months before his death.

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