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Foster mother who beat 2-year-old gets sentence of 25 years to life

A foster mother convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of a 2-year-old girl was sentenced Friday to 25-years-to-life in state prison.

Kiana Barker, 34, who had been trying to adopt Viola Vanclief in 2010, severely beat the toddler and later called 911 to report that the girl had stopped breathing, prosecutors say.

In October, a jury found Barker guilty of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death and child abuse.

Viola Vanclief

The case was the latest in a years-long series of problems for United Care, a nonprofit foster agency that contracted with Los Angeles County at the time of Viola’s death, and had placed the girl with Barker.

After the child's death, the county terminated its contract with United Care.

Witnesses said that Baker burst into Viola's room after hours of heavy drinking and beat her. When Barker was pulled away, the little girl was on the floor, struggling to breathe, the witness said.

Ultimately, it was determined that the child — who was placed in child care because her biological mother was a crack addict and prostitute — had died from massive bleeding in her chest cavity, prosecutors said.

-- Matt Stevens and Garrett Therolf

Photo: Viola Vanclief

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