Blanco mom to spend 30 years in prison for daughter’s death

Jamie Petronella
Jamie Petronella (Blanco Police Department

BLANCO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Blanco woman will spend 30 years in prison for her role in the death of her baby girl last year.

In a plea deal, Jamie Petronella, 24, pleaded guilty to injury to a child. On May 3, 2016, Petronella called 911 stating her 15-month-old daughter, Sunny Bort, was unresponsive and not breathing. Sunny was found by police lying on the living room floor as Petronella’s boyfriend, John Lawrence attempted to perform CPR. Emergency crews noticed the child had bruises on both sides of her mouth as well as a large “dried wound on her face.”

Fifteen-month-old Sunny Dakota Slade-Bort died Thursday morning (Jamie Petronella Facebook Photo)
Fifteen-month-old Sunny Dakota Slade-Bort died May 5 (Jamie Petronella Facebook Photo)

The affidavit states Lawrence told police the large bruise on Bort’s face was a result of him trying to “rub” out the bruise, claiming he pushed too hard. The toddler was flown to University Hospital in San Antonio, where doctors indicated the child had head trauma, a spinal injury and evidence of sexual assault. She died two days later.

In February, Petronella’s boyfriend, John Cody Lawrence, 25, was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to capital murder in the child’s death. He has also pleaded guilty to four counts of assaulting a public servant in the Blanco County Jail, and will serve 10 years for each count.

The Blanco County district clerk says Petronella will receive credit for time served, which means she’ll be released in 2046. She also waived her right to appeal.

While investigating Sunny’s injuries, police determined Petronella’s two other children in the home, a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy, also had various injuries. Police said the boy had cerebral hemorrhage and the toddler had bruising. Authorities believed the children also suffered physical and sexual abuse. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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