LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - In front of a full courtroom on Wednesday, Rodney Bailey Jr. was sentenced to 80 years in prison in connection to the May 2016 death of Willow Rain Renteria-Molina of Hornbeck. Judge Tony Bennett gave Bailey the maximum sentences for one count of obstruction of justice (40) and second-degree cruelty of a juvenile (40).
The family of Willow Molina brought a framed picture of the two-year-old to Wednesday's sentencing. | Image Source: KALB
The 36-year-old had been babysitting the toddler when she was reported missing. According to testimony, Bailey initially told police he had taken Willow to the Office of Child Services and said she was 'in a better place' before asking for an attorney. It took investigators about 50 minutes to find Willow's body stuffed in a duffel bag and in Judge Tony Bennett's words -"discarded like trash" - in a wooded area in Beauregard Parish. A couple of relatives of Willow burst into tears at hearing the details of the way the toddler's body was found. Judge Bennett called Bailey 'the worst of the worst'. The family held a framed picture of Willow during the sentencing.
The little girl's grandmother and sister said they felt the 80 years was just but that everyone involved was grieving the loss of a loved one. Some of Bailey's family and supporters were also emotional on Wednesday when they learned his sentence. Bailey is a father of five children. With the case behind them, Willow's grandmother and sister said they'll continue relying on their faith as life goes on without the little girl.
In February, Bailey took a guilty plea during jury selection for his trial.
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