The 36 year old Army Sergeant First Class was charged last year (2013) with Manslaughter and with Leaving a Child Unattended, after the death of her son, Bennett Owen Smith; later that second charge was dropped.
Papke stated that she dropped her other children off at Sacred Heart Catholic School on the morning of August 9th, then drove to work at McClellan, with her son still in the backseat – she went into her workplace where she worked through lunch.
She stated in an interview, and through her attorney, that she thought she had dropped the four-month old off at school with her other children and didn’t realize her mistake until she returned to her vehicle around 2:00pm.
Bennett Owen Smith was later pronounced dead.
Through her plea on Wednesday (September 17th, 2014), Papke accepted responsibility for the child’s unintentional death.
She has been accepted into a diversionary program, which means she will serve no jail time