Mother of three tortured children headed to prison

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — A mother whose former boyfriend was sentenced to 150 years behind bars for waterboarding, binding, and torturing her three young daughters is now headed to prison herself.

Lea Michele Hernandez, 32, of Burkburnett, pled guilty on Friday, April 5, 2024, to three counts of injury to a child for her role in the abuse of her children in 2021, who were all under the age of 7 at the time.

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Hernandez was sentenced by 78th District Court Judge Meredith Kennedy to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts, set to run consecutively.

As a part of the plea agreement, the 12 remaining counts that were pending against Hernandez were dismissed. She was credited with 1,026 days of time served.

Hernandez was arrested in June 2021 after police found two of the three children at home alone with severe bruising on multiple parts of the girls' body.

During a forensic interview at Patsy's house, the girls accused their mother of beating them with a belt on multiple occasions, and Hernandez would later admit to beating the children.

Hernandez was previously in a relationship with Daniel Ortiz, who she and her three daughters shared a residence with. The children would often refer to Ortiz as "dad".

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Ortiz was found guilty in January 2024 by a Wichita County jury of waterboarding and torturing the little girls, tying them up nearly naked, and leaving them in the garage of the residence.

Ultimately, Ortiz was sentenced to three 50-year sentences that Judge Kennedy set to run consecutively. He is currently in the process of appealing that sentence.

During Ortiz's trial, Hernandez was mentioned multiple times. Her three children, all of whom testified against Ortiz, said she would also hit them and spank them, and that at times, she would participate in the abuse committed by Ortiz.

It was revealed during the trial that Hernandez had a court-ordered agreement to relinquish her parental rights to the three child victims.

This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma's Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.

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