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Michigan woman who tied up 11-year-old son in car, set car on fire takes plea deal

Sherri Marie Richter pleads no contest to second-degree child abuse

Sherri Richter (WDIV)
Sherri Richter (WDIV)

LASALLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Monroe County woman charged with intent to murder after she tied up her 11-year-old son in a car and lit it on fire took a plea agreement Thursday, officials announced.

Sherri Marie Richter, 48, of Frenchtown Township, was charged with trying to kill her son by binding his wrists, locking him in a car and lighting it on fire.

Richter pleaded no contest to second-degree child abuse. The assault with intent to murder and arson charges were dropped.

She is being held at the Monroe County Jail without bond before sentencing.

What happened

Police received a call at 11:28 a.m. on June 27 from Richter's husband, who said his wife might have harmed their son.

Officials learned the family's 2014 Ford Focus was on fire at the Roselawn Memorial Park at 13200 S. Dixie Highway in LaSalle Township.

When deputies arrived, the car was emitting smoke from the passenger compartment, but Richter and her son couldn't be found.

Police found Richter and her son in a different part of the cemetery, talking to members of the Roselawn staff.

Investigators said they learned Richter had bound her son at the wrists and locked him inside the Focus before lighting a fire in the trunk. She later tried to ignite the fire using gasoline inside the passenger compartment, where the boy was sitting, according to investigators.

Police said the fire didn't ignite, and the boy struggled to get free. The woman then freed the boy from the car and they walked away until they found an employee in the cemetery, police said.

The employee freed the boy from his bindings, and he is expected to be OK, officials said.

Richter was arrested and taken to ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital for evaluation before being lodged at the Monroe County Jail on attempted murder and arson charges.

The boy was taken to ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital for precautionary reasons and released.


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