Stephanie Zak pleaded guilty to felony child neglect and received a 10-year suspended prison sentence in a Virginia court Tuesday.
Stephanie Zak, 27, and her husband, former Brainerd resident Seth Zak, were both charged in connection with the death of 2-year-old Dakota Zak. Stephanie Zak was Dakota Zak's stepmother.
On Oct. 3, 2002, Dakota Zak was transported to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Va., and later transported to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond with head trauma consistent with blows to his head. Dakota Zak was put on life support. He never regained consciousness and later died.
On Oct. 8, 2002, Seth and Stephanie Zak were charged with felony child neglect for failing to get Dakota proper medical attention in a timely manner. Seth also was charged with first-degree murder.
On March 10, 2003, a Dinwiddie County (Va.) jury acquitted Seth Zak of the first-degree murder charge but found him guilty of the child abuse charge. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Seth Zak is appealing the conviction.
Dakota Zak's mother, Sarah Zak; his brother, Drake; and his grandparents live in the Brainerd area. Sarah Zak, whose ex-husband is Seth Zak, was awarded custody of Drake following Dakota Zak's death.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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