Mother of Robert Manwill Pleads Guilty

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In a surprise statement from Ada County prosecutors, Melissa Scott Jenkins has agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting the murder of her 8-year-old son, Robert Manwill.

The announcement is at least partial closure in the murder case that consumed the community in July 2009. A massive search effort was mounted after the 8-year-old Manwill was reported missing. Thousands of community members looked for the boy while his family—including his mother and her boyfriend, Daniel Ehrlick, Jr.—begged for his safe return. His body was found two weeks later floating in a Kuna canal on Aug. 3, 2010.
Jenkins and Ehrlick were charged with murder, and prosecutors believe the child's death followed weeks of escalating violence, which was hidden by his mother.

As part of a guilty plea, Ada County prosecutor Greg Bower said Jenkins is expected to spend 25 years in prison without parole.

Ehrlick has pleaded not guilty, and his murder trial is scheduled to begin in April.

In a Dec. 15, 2010, interview with BW, Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said his department will conduct an extensive review of the Manwill case when legal proceedings against Jenkins and Ehrlick are complete.