Hoisington man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend's toddler daughter

By  | 

HOISINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend's toddler whose body was found in a rural area of central Kansas.

The Kansas attorney general's office says 26-year-old Chaz Stephens admitted Thursday to a reduced charge of second-degree intentional murder in the March 2018 death of Iviona Lewis. He initially was charged with first-degree murder.

Iviona had already been gone for more than 48 hours when she was reported missing. Her body was found the next morning near Hoisington. Police said at the time that the girl's mother had been visiting her brother in Great Bend, and the delay in reporting Iviona's disappearance stemmed from confusion over who was supposed to be caring for her. Her obituary described her as "smart, kind and gentle."

Sentencing is set for June 3.