Walkerton Woman Sentenced to Probation

 A Walkerton woman was sentenced on a reduced charge in Starke Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Tamara Esparza pleaded guilty to an amended charge of neglect of a dependent as a felony. However, due to her lack of a criminal record, her cooperation with a drug investigation and her ability to do what’s best for her situation and her daughter, the felony count was reduced to a misdemeanor as ordered by Judge Kim Hall. The order was also made so she could remain gainfully employed.

Esparza testified that her husband and brother-in-law were involved in the sale and use of heroin and she left that environment to provide a better living for her and her daughter. Her husband lied to her that he had stopped his drug activity and she moved back in with him. She found out that the activity was ongoing and that’s when police served a search warrant at the residence and she and three other suspects in the home were arrested.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mary Ryan spoke highly of Esparza, and reports received from the Department of Child Services show positive results and that she is cooperative.

Judge Hall noted that she did endanger her child by placing her in a home with heroin and drug paraphernalia and that couldn’t go unrecognized. With that, Esparza was sentenced to probation for two years and she will be required to report daily to Starke County Community Corrections for four months. She is to have no contact with the other suspects in the case.