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Monique Lynch gets 27 years in death of 7-year-old who may have been buried alive

One of last year's most horrific crimes was the murder of Genesis Sims, age seven, whose body was found in the crawlspace of a Monument home. Now, Monique Lynch, the girlfriend of Genesis's father, Hanif Sims, has been given a 27-year sentence for her role in the case, which may have involved the girl being buried alive.

According to the arrest warrant, members of the Monument Police Department were called to a unit at 764 Century Place in May 2010 after contractors replacing a sump pump made a grisly discovery. About thirty inches into the earth under the building, they'd found the corpse of a child inside a trash bag that contained a second bag made of burlap.

The medical examiner had a tough task with identification; the body was so decayed that analysts weren't even initially sure the victim was an African-American. Eventually, they determined that the victim was a girl between seven and ten years of age, weighing 43 pounds and wearing socks, jeans, underwear, a T-shirt and a friendship wristband.

But who were her parents? Cops didn't know, but they soon discovered that Lynch and Sims had lived in the home with two kids, Devon Lynch and Geneis Sims, between November 2008 and February 2009. They were later able to track down Devon in foster care. He said he'd last seen Genesis on her birthday in 2008, after which he'd been told she had been shipped back to New Jersey to live with her biological mother. He also said the burlap bag containing the body was the same type Lynch used while doing laundry.

This information made Lynch and Sims the chief suspects. But before police could find their whereabouts, KRDO reporter Tak Landrock tracked them down via a Facebook page -- and Lynch soon confirmed that the victim in question was Genesis. Not that she confessed to killing her. She told Landrock she'd returned home from a visit with a friend to discover the girl collapsed in the shower. She added that she'd performed CPR on her, but she'd been too late. So she and Sims had held a de facto memorial service for the girl and buried her in the crawlspace.

Sims's version of the story, delivered after he and Lynch were arrested in Henderson, Nevada on outstanding warrants, turned out to be very different. He claimed that on the day Genesis died, she'd soiled herself -- an accident that upset Monique so much that she began beating the girl with a belt.

Sims insisted that he'd told Lynch to stop -- that she'd punished the girl enough -- before heading to a store to get some cigarettes, and when he got back, Genesis was in the bathtub, dead. But then he changed his story to say Genesis was still alive upon his return, but breathing shallowly. He says he told Lynch to call 911, but she refused because of a warrant against her -- plus, she was pregnant and didn't want to bear a child in jail. So they left Genesis in a bedroom for two days, then put her in the bags and placed her in the crawlspace -- perhaps while she was still alive.

In response, Lynch branded Sims a liar, and the two have been pointing fingers at each other ever since. In the end, however, authorities concluded that Sims was the driving force behind Genesis's death, while Lynch was guilty of failing to do anything to protect the child. Hence, her conviction on a charge of child abuse resulting in death and an agreement to testify against Sims when his own trial gets underway next month.

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Yesterday, at her sentencing, Lynch said, "I believe I should be punished... I could have done more to save Genesis" -- two statements that are inarguably true. Look below to see Lynch's full-size mug shot, a KKTV report about her sentencing and the original arrest affidavit.

More from our Mug Shots archive: "Top 32 mug shots of June 2011 (PHOTOS)."

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