A Waco woman who took a young family member out of school last year without authorization in what her lawyer described as a family dispute was placed on deferred probation Monday.

Visiting Judge Robert Stem sentenced Chyna Sierra Deckard, 20, to deferred probation for 10 years and ordered her jailed for 30 days, which she will serve on weekends as a condition of her probation.

Deckard pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping in a May 2018 incident in which she took a family member from Provident Heights Elementary School without permission, almost prompting an Amber Alert before she was found with the girl.

School officials said Deckard came to eat lunch at the school with the student, but then left with her. Deckard was not authorized to sign the girl out and Waco school police launched an immediate search for the pair.

Waco school police found the girl and reunited her with her family just before school officials prepared to issue an Amber Alert to seek the public’s help in finding her.

Deckard was arrested on aggravated kidnapping and misdemeanor marijuana charges. The judge sentenced Deckard to deferred probation for two years on the drug count.

Deckard’s attorney, Jonathan Sibley, said the child belonged to Deckard’s cousin, adding Deckard had babysat the girl before.

“The child was never in harm’s way,” Sibley said. “It was a family financial dispute with other things involved that escalated and became something that got blown out of proportion to a certain degree. But she took responsibility for her role in this and she knows she didn’t make good decisions. It was more of a family dispute that shouldn’t have happened.”

In deferred probation cases, there is no final judgment of guilt and a defendant’s record can be cleared if he or she completes probation.

“It was a good deal for my client and a fair offer by the state,” Sibley said. “Certainly, it was something to be taken seriously, but it was not a malicious act where she was trying to harm anybody.”

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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