Cheyenne Hill receives 30 years for her role in her child’s death

BEDFORD – On Tuesday morning, Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer II sentenced 33-year-old Cheyenne Hill to 30 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Hill, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, showed no emotion when handed down the sentence.

It took a jury only two hours of deliberation to be guilty of child neglect causing death, a Level 1 felony.

Hill was found responsible for the death of her 20-month-old daughter, Elliaunna (Elli) M. Plummer.

Judge John Plummer

“This is a sad case, very sad,” said Judge Plummeer. “This little girl needed someone to advocate for her, speak up for her, and protect her. It was Cheyenne’s responsibility to do that, and she did not. This is very tragic. This was an emotional case and was hard for everyone. To some extent, there is justice for Elliaunna today.”

Elli Plummer

Robert Hamilton of Salem represented Hill. Deputy Prosecutors Sarah Cummings and Joshua Scherschel presented the case for the state.

Hill’s mother, Michelle Fleenor, sister, Jennifer East, and Hill testified during the morning sentencing hearing.

Fleenor and East stressed Hill loved her baby and was a good mother. Both testified they had not had a close relationship for months before Eli’s death.

“My daughter was in shock when I arrived at the hospital,” said Fleenor. “She did nothing but cry over Elli and tried to figure out who had hurt her daughter.

After Eli’s death, Fleenor said Cheyenne was a mess.

“She wouldn’t eat, she had panic attacks, I couldn’t get her to go to the doctor,” Fleenor added. “She was upset and angry and just cried for hours.”

Fleenor said Cheyenne was working 12-hour shifts at IGA.

“She trusted these people to care for her child,” added Fleenor. “I feel guilty; I failed my daughter and Elli. If I had done something, this would not have happened. We were not there for Cheyenne and Elli. When Cheyenne had Elli, her eyes lit up. Elli brought life into my daughter. It was so good to see her happy…She hadn’t been happy for years. I never saw Cheyenne mistreat her daughter.”

Fleenor said Cheyenne did not hurt her child.

“She is innocent,” she added. “Cheyenne was trying to help and find justice for her daughter when she cooperated with the police….There are monsters in this world who have taken Elli from us. Cheyenne didn’t think anyone would hurt her kid.”

East testified her sister was a gentle person.

“I can’t imagine her pain,” said East. “My little sister is a sweet, sweet girl. She is not a horrible monster. Our whole family is broken and always will be broken. With Elli’s passing, everything shattered.”

“Her baby is gone, and she (Cheyenne) didn’t physically harm her daughter. She didn’t cause this tragedy,” East added. “Everyone makes mistakes, but at the time, Cheyenne didn’t know she was making a mistake. We can’t replace Elli; putting Cheyenne in prison will not bring Elli back. Putting her mommy in prison will not make Elli happy.”

Family friend Brittany Franklin testified that Cheyenne lost her purpose to live when Elli died.

“Cheyenne was an emotional mess,” she said. “One minute, she would be wailing. The next, she would be so quiet, staring at her daughter. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. She lost her purpose when Elli died. They both died that day.”

Franklin believes that Hill should have never spoken to the police without a lawyer present.

“I told her they were not her friends,” Franklin added. “But she wouldn’t listen, and now this is where we are.”

Hill testified that she couldn’t ever imagine someone would hurt her child.

“Elli brought me such joy. She was my whole world. She gave me a reason to live. Elli was my universe,” she added. “The people who did this to her need to be in prison.”

Hill admitted her mistake was not taking Elli to the hospital soon enough.

“I didn’t know she was hurt so bad,” Hill said. “If I had taken her to the hospital, someone there would have told me my child was being abused. How can someone hurt a baby?”

“I know I did wrong,” she added. “I failed her. I was under a lot of pressure. I trusted the people who were caring for her. They killed my baby girl. I lost everything when Elli died. They took my soul from me. This is not justice for Elli. I am partially to blame. But they hurt my baby. She was mommy’s girl, and she loved me, and I loved her more than anything in this universe. I miss her so much.”

Ellianna’s father, Aron Plummer, was at the sentencing.

He believes Hill caused the injuries that killed their daughter.

“I one hundred percent believe she did this,” he added. “I couldn’t handle coming to the trial and hearing all that happened to my baby. I am angry and sad and even attempted suicide. I will never have the chance to be her father. It sickens me to the point of hate. She (Cheyenne) shows no emotion in her actions, which enrages me.”

He believes if Hill had taken Elli to the hospital sooner, she would still be alive.

“But I have to face the cruel reality of what happened,” Plummer added. My daughter is gone, and her 12-year-old sister Clara will never know her baby sister. There are real monsters in this world, and Cheyenne is one of them.”

Chief Prosecutor Joshua Scherschel said we may never know beyond a reasonable doubt who did the physical act that killed Elli Plummer.

“Unfortunately, we do know her mother had a responsibility to care for her child, but she put her in danger to the point of death,” Scherschel added. “She didn’t call 911, and she didn’t get her help… she placed her child’s life in danger, and Elli Plummer died.”

Defense Attorney Robert Hamilton said this was a terrible case because a child died. He claimed during the trial that the state pigeon-holed the mother into the responsibility for the child’s death.

Hill was arrested in September 2023 in Michigan and transported back to Lawrence County to face charges.

On November 23, 2022, at 12:16 p.m., officers were requested to IU Health Bedford Hospital by the Department of Child Services caseworker, who reported that Elli had been flown by a medical helicopter to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

The baby had suffered a brain bleed, a broken collar bone, and had head and facial bruising. She also had a swollen and deformed head with bruising to her forehead and the left and right sides of her face.

On November 26, 2022, Elli was pronounced dead at 4:35 p.m. after showing no brain activity. Elli’s organs were donated.

Elli Plummer

A post-mortem examination conducted by Pathologist Doctor Amanda Paul concluded the manner of death was a homicide and that the injuries would have occurred after November 21, 2022.

On November 29, 2022, a post-mortem examination was conducted by Pathologist Doctor Amanda Paul. The 7-page autopsy report revealed Elli was malnourished and had lacerations to her upper and lower mouth that were not from medical intervention and a right, acute clavicle fracture. Elli also had numerous bruises in various stages of healing.

“She suffered multiple impacts throughout the whole head,” Dr. Paul testified during the trial. “She had subdural bleeding to both sides of her head but more on the right side. The head injury would have been fatal…She was brain-dead for a while before she was pronounced dead.”

Dr. Paul concluded the manner of death was a homicide, and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.