LINCOLN COUNTY • The mother of several adopted children — including one who disappeared for more than seven hours in 2010, triggering a massive search — pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of child abuse.
Sharon Wilkerson, 55, of the first block of Lakota Acres, entered the plea before Circuit Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer as part of a deal with prosecutors. Wilkerson had faced 29 counts of child abuse. In exchange for pleading guilty to three, she received a suspended seven-year sentence and must serve 120 days of “shock time” in prison.
The charges involved one of Wilkerson’s adopted daughters and a foster child, authorities said. According to court documents, Wilkerson beat the girls with various instruments, including an arrow, a plumbing supply line, a curtain rod and hangers, in 2010 and 2011.
The daughter, who was 10 in 2010, disappeared that October for more than seven hours. She later said she took a walk with a family dog and became lost.
It is unclear how the abuse came to the attention of authorities.
Attorney Scott Rosenblum, who represented Wilkerson, declined to comment about any connection between the girl’s disappearance and the charges.
The children are no longer living with the Wilkersons, Rosenblum said. Prosecutor Leah Askey could not be reached for comment.
Susan Weich is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.