Struthers mom pleads guilty

Shain WIDDERSHEIM

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The Struthers mother accused of allowing the beating death of her 14-year-old son pleaded guilty to charges on Monday that could land her in prison for a decade.

Shain Widdersheim, 32, of 28 Creed St., pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of child endangering and obstructing justice charges in front of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum. Widdersheim’s son, Teddy Foltz, died Jan. 26.

Investigators believe Widdersheim’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush, severely abused Foltz to death.

Prosecutors dropped the involuntary manslaughter charge because Widdersheim was not home when the incident occurred, but when she returned her son was unconscious. Police said Widdersheim tried to cover up the crime and told her two younger sons to lie.

“The twins were instructed to give the original story their brother fell in the bathroom,” said Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Becky Doherty.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a 10-year prison sentence.

Foltz’s grandparents and other family members sat quietly in the courtroom as Widdersheim stood before the judge.  Widdersheim’s mother, Sara Foltz, said she hopes her daughter gets the maximum sentence.

“I’m happy that at least she came to terms and accepted she did wrong. It’s not going to bring my grandson back,” said Foltz. “I do believe she deserves it because she let it go on for so long. I’m sorry, she’s my daughter, I love her, but she still did wrong.”

Krichbaum will sentence Widdersheim following a presentence investigation.

Bush, 43, of 533 Creed St., is facing life in prison for two types of murder, six counts of child endangering, two counts of intimidating Foltz’s twin brothers, who prosecutors say were witnesses to abuse against Foltz, and tampering with evidence.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Wednesday. The twins are in Mahoning County Children Services’ custody.

Bush was originally charged with rape by Struthers police, but a grand jury never indicted Bush on those charges.

Neighbors previously said they saw Bush lock Foltz outside during cold weather while he acted like a drill sergeant. Investigators found Foltz suffered from frostbite at one point.

Foltz was hospitalized with head injuries he eventually died from, prompting an investigation by Struthers police.

Officers noted the three children, including Foltz, were taken out of public school in favor of being homeschooled months before he was killed. Family members said Widdersheim and her children rarely were allowed to see outside family members.

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