The woman accused of leaving her mother on the floor to die and forcing her own daughter to live with the decomposing body for three years pleaded guilty on Tuesday and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Delissa Crayton entered into a plea agreement in which she admitted to leaving her 71-year-old mother, Jacqueline Crayton, on the bedroom floor and letting her die.
According to court documents, Crayton pleaded guilty to injury to a child with intentional serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury; injury to an elderly individual with intentional serious bodily injury; and injury elderly with intentional serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury.
Judge Jessica Crawford of the 2nd 25th Judicial District sentenced Crayton to 30 years for each charge and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
“This is one of the most horrific circumstances that I’ve ever seen,” Guadalupe County Attorney David Willborn said. “We see intentional acts all of the time, where people act in an evil way — sometimes against strangers, sometimes against friends. But, I’ve never seen a situation where a woman let her mother suffer and die.”
On July 7, 2019, police discovered Jacqueline Crayton’s skeletal remains inside her home in the 900 block of Anderson Street, while investigating a claim of child abuse.
Officers said Jacqueline Crayton fell in her bedroom onto the floor, suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.
According to the indictment a grand jury handed up in September 2019, Delissa Crayton left her mother on the floor, closed the bedroom door, refused to call for help and prevented her daughter — then under the age of 15 — from helping the 71-year-old.
When police entered the two-bedroom home, they found the remains lying on the floor in one of the rooms behind an unlocked, closed door, Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said in 2019.
“Delissa Crayton didn’t have an obligation to take care of her mother as her mother lay there dying, that’s why we couldn’t charge her with murder, but we did charge her with crimes that dealt with that behavior,” Willborn said.
Making the crimes even more egregious, Willborn said, was that Delissa Crayton forced her daughter to live in the same home while her 71-year-old grandmother died and her body decomposed.
Police arrested Delissa Crayton just days after discovering Jacqueline Crayton’s remains.
While investigators couldn’t prove Delissa Crayton inflicted harm on her mother, Willborn said the charges reflected the crimes they could prove. He also said he hopes that the punishment sends a message to the community.
“There was very little more that we could do to Ms. Crayton because we couldn’t prove that she actually caused the death to her mother, but we felt that sending her to prison for this length of time would at least send the message that you can’t turn your back on loved ones when they are in times of peril,” he said. “And you certainly can not subject your children to that type of trauma.”
Crawford sentenced Delissa Crayton on Tuesday and gave her credit for the 441 days she already served while held at Guadalupe County Jail.