PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — A Tazewell County woman who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter of her infant daughter will spend nine years in prison.

In November, Angel Vanduker pled guilty to smothering her 11-month old daughter, Nova Tucker, in September 2020.

“The judge had a lot to consider. I think he did the best job he could under the circumstances. We are a little disappointed in his ruling and we will weigh whether we’re going to file a motion to reconsider, but that will ultimately be up to Miss Vanduker,” said Tazewell County assistant public defender Sam Snyder.

Austin Tucker, Vanduker’s ex-husband and Nova’s father, made a victim impact statement in court Friday. He said he voluntarily checked himself into a mental hospital because of immense grief and “lifetime of heartbreak”.

“She was my entire world. I have celebrated countless holidays without her, each one feeling harder than the last. I’m left with only memories, pictures and videos of her, and one small box contained her cremated remains. I sleep next to that box of ashes every night to feel closer to her,” said Tucker.

Vanduker made a statement apologizing and accepting responsibility for her baby’s death, saying if she could go back in time, she would.

“I can’t begin to express how ashamed and guilt-ridden, and how much of a failure I feel because  of my actions…I would give my heart and my life for hers back,” she said.

Vanduker’s other two children remain in custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The court moved Vanduker’s case to Friday to accommodate her current pregnancy. The baby will be placed into DCFS custody when born.