An Alabama mom stopped to buy cigarettes while driving her dying son to ER. Now she’ll spend decades behind bars for his death

The District Attorney claims the mother had left the toddler ‘in the care of someone the mother knows to have been abusive to the child’

Amelia Neath
Tuesday 09 July 2024 17:17
Samantha McCormack, 30, was sentenced by a Blount County judge to serve 25 years in a state correctional facility after pleading guilty to felony murder in the course of child abuse
Samantha McCormack, 30, was sentenced by a Blount County judge to serve 25 years in a state correctional facility after pleading guilty to felony murder in the course of child abuse (Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

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An Alabama mother has been sentenced to decades behind bars after she left her toddler with her abusive partner, only for her to stop for cigarettes on the way to the hospital, where he died days later.

Samantha McCormack, 30, was sentenced by a Blount County judge to serve 25 years in a state correctional facility in connection to the killing of her 18-month-old son, Enzo McCormack, five years ago.

She had previously pleaded guilty to felony murder during the course of child abuse.

Her partner at the time, 32-year-old Robert Keith Elmore Jr, has already been convicted in 2023 of capital murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

District Attorney Pamela Casey claimed that McCormack left her son Enzo in the care of Elmore despite knowing that he was abusive, a report by AL.com detailed.

The court heard that the child had suffered blunt force trauma and violent shaking injuries before his death in September 2019.

Court documents said that the mother "willfully maltreated (the child)... by leaving (the child) in the care, custody, and control of someone Defendant knew to be abusive," according to WVTM.

Casey explained that Blount County Emergency Medical Services and sheriff’s deputies were called to Locust Fork Hardware Store at 7pm on September 6, five years ago, and found the 18-month-old in respiratory distress, cold to the touch and turning blue, AL.com stated.

Photos from 2019 of Samantha McCormack and Robert Elmore after the death of 18-month-old Enzo McCormack
Photos from 2019 of Samantha McCormack and Robert Elmore after the death of 18-month-old Enzo McCormack (Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

McCormack told investigators at the time that while she was using the bathroom, she heard a noise in the living room and found her toddler choking on cereal, the court documents reportedly said.

She decided to get him examined. However, on the way to the hospital, she stopped at a store to buy cigarettes and gasoline, according to testimony.

At the store, she met with Elmore’s sister Heather, who exited the store to check on the child, finding him limp and cold to the touch, prompting both women to call 911, the outlet said.

Enzo was taken to the Children’s of Alabama hospital and placed on a ventilator until September 9, 2019, when doctors determined that no further measures could be taken to save the young child’s life.

It was later found out that Elmore had been with the toddler while Enzo’s mother worked, AL.com said.

When authorities spoke to Elmore, he claimed that he dropped the toddler because he pulled his chest hairs.

Yet, a doctor testified in 2023 that Enzo had suffered blunt force trauma and injuries from being shaken.

Dr Valerie Green, a forensic pathologist with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified that she did an autopsy on the child.

Samantha McCormack said she had stopped at a store on the way to get her child examined
Samantha McCormack said she had stopped at a store on the way to get her child examined (Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

She said that Enzo had multiple contusions on his scalp, indicating the child had experienced at least two points of impact on his head.

She also said he had numerous retinal hemorrhages, and the severity of the injury to the brain made her believe he had been severely shaken, the local website reports.

Alongside this, Elmore’s phone records were also admitted into evidence, which showed at 5.41pm on September 6. Elmore sent a message to the mother saying that Enzo “ain’t breathing rite ... he is limp ... and almost blue.”

“This story is horrifying. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering this child endured before succumbing to his injuries,” the district attorney said in a statement to various outlets.

“I cannot understand someone doing what Elmore did. But, as a mother, I cannot understand how a mother could leave their child in the care of someone the mother knows to have been abusive to the child. Obviously, there is nothing we can do to bring Enzo back. But, we have sought justice for Enzo. Elmore and McCormack will be held accountable within the extent the law allows.”

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