69ºF

Rachel Fryer pleads guilty to murder in death of 2-year-old daughter

Daughter's body found in suitcase in Putnam County

SANFORD, Fla. – A Central Florida woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and burying her body in a suitcase pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse charges.

[READ: Mom changes mind at bond hearing]

Rachel Fryer appeared before a Seminole County judge and accepted a plea deal, which comes with a maximum penalty of life in prison plus 30 years.

A judge signed an order on July 29 that dismissed Fryer's motion to withdraw the plea.

Prosecutors said the plea brings justice for Fryer's daughter, Tajiri Gordon. Her body was found in 2014 in a suitcase that was buried in a grave in Putnam County.

"Any time a child dies like this, it's difficult to comprehend what is an appropriate sentence," Gino Feliciani of the State Attorney's Office said.

The medical examiner's office said the toddler died from blunt-force trauma to her head and bite marks on the girl's body were linked to Fryer.

Prosecutors said that until she agreed to the plea deal, Fryer denied having anything to do with her daughter's death and blamed other people.

"Now she can't point the finger at anybody but herself. That was really something that was very important to us, that she'd acknowledge what she did," Feliciani said.

Penny Jones, who adopted Fryer's children, was noticeably absent from court. The state attorney's office said she did not want the plea deal.

"I don't think she was really agreeable to it, but we gave her an opportunity to provide us with input," Feliciani said. "We took that into consideration and, at the end of the day, we did what we thought was the fair and the just thing to do."

News 6 tried to speak to Fryer's public defender, but he had no comment.

The judge sentenced Fryer to spend 30 years in prison, followed by 30 years of probation. Conditions of her release include undergoing a psychological evaluation and required treatment, no contact with her children or the family who adopted them and no unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 18.