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Mom found guilty of murder in 'Baby Grace' case

  • Story Highlights
  • Body of Kimberly Dawn Trenor's daughter found on Galveston Bay island in 2007
  • Police dubbed girl "Baby Grace" before her identity was known
  • Trenor wrote in journal about beating toddler
  • Trenor's husband to face murder charges in separate trial
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(CNN) -- A Texas woman accused of killing her toddler daughter and dumping the body in Galveston Bay has been found guilty of murder by a jury in Galveston, Texas.

Kimberly Dawn Trenor received a life sentence without possibility of parole in the murder of her daughter.

Kimberly Dawn Trenor received a life sentence without possibility of parole in the murder of her daughter.

Kimberly Dawn Trenor, 20, showed no emotion as the verdict was read late Monday. Trenor had pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in the case, but pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charge.

She received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The body of Trenor's daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers, was found in October 2007 in a large blue plastic container on an uninhabited island in Galveston Bay.

Two-year-old Riley Ann's case drew national attention after a fisherman found her body. Authorities didn't know her identity, and police dubbed her "Baby Grace."

After authorities distributed composite sketches of the girl nationwide, Sheryl Sawyers, the girl's paternal grandmother, contacted police from her Ohio home to say the drawing resembled her granddaughter. DNA testing confirmed the child's identity.

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According to an affidavit, Trenor told police Riley had been beaten and thrown across a room and that her head was held under water before she died on July 24, 2007.

Another piece of evidence shown to the jury during the trial was a page of Trenor's journal where she talked of beating the child, according to CNN affiliate KTRK.

"I just kept hitting her with the belt again and again. I don't know how long, but I remember her trying to get away and me knocking her back down," the journal said.

Trenor's husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, 25, also faces capital murder and evidence tampering charges, but is being tried separately.

A court date has not been set in that case.

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