Bedford County Woman Jailed up to 80 Years for Murder of 3-Year-Old Child

April 8, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced a Bedford County woman has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and related charges and was sentenced to 40 to 80 years in prison for killing a 3-year-old boy in 2022.

Chelsea R. Cooley, 33, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday in Bedford County Court.

The child was found unresponsive at Cooley’s home on May 28, 2022, with baby wipes lodged in his throat. The boy, who was Cooley’s boyfriend’s child, was hospitalized and died a day later.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office opined that an adult strangled and asphyxiated the boy, based on the location of the wipes and other injuries on his body. Cooley was the sole adult caregiver at home when the boy sustained the injuries.

“The facts of this case are horrific,” Attorney General Henry said. “This defendant was responsible for caring for this child, and instead she did the unthinkable. She brutally murdered him, a defenseless and innocent three-year-old child. This defendant’s actions are devastating to the child’s loved ones, but we hope today’s admission and sentence offer a measure of justice.”

The Pennsylvania State Police investigated and filed charges. The investigation revealed that Cooley was home with the boy and other children at the time of the crime. The boy’s father was working a 12-hour shift and reported the child was normal and healthy when he left for work.

On May 28, 2022, a neighbor heard screaming and a female voice yelling, “shut up,” around the time investigators determined the child sustained the injuries.

Cooley showed police a photo of the child laying down, with obvious injuries, and unresponsive at 8:41 p.m., but she did not call 9-1-1 until 9:07 p.m., and she was hesitant to help the child as instructed by dispatchers.

Cooley also pleaded guilty to felony counts of strangulation and endangering the welfare of a child.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorneys General Evan Lowry and Heather Serrano.

# # #