On Monday, 32-year-old Jill Ann Culler pleaded not guilty to one count of child abuse.  If convicted, she would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Court documents say that an Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a single-story trailer home in Albany County at 10:42 p.m. on Aug. 19 for a report of a runaway child.  The deputy encountered Culler, who reportedly said that she’d gotten into an argument with the 13-year-old child at their residence that evening, and the child left the trailer through a window.

According to the affidavit, the deputy noticed that Culler smelled heavily of alcohol; her speech was slurred and her eyes were “bloodshot and water[y].”

Two officers with the Laramie Police Department located the missing child.  They reportedly noticed that one eye was “extremely swollen” and that there was bruising around the bottom of the eye.  The affidavit also says the officers observed cuts on the child’s nose, and that the piercings on her face were “red and bleeding.”

The officers also said that the child smelled like alcohol. When questioned about the smell, the child said that Culler had provided her with several shots of alcohol earlier that evening.

The child described the evening’s events to officers.  According to the affidavit, the child and Culler had gotten into an argument.  The child went into the bedroom and purportedly slid a dresser in front of the door.  Allegedly, Culler forced her way in and struck the child in the face several times with closed fists.

In a later interview with law enforcement, Culler allegedly admitted to giving the child alcohol on the evening of Aug. 19, as well as “bopping” the child twice.  Culler reportedly described “bopping” as using an open hand to strike the child on the side of the head.

The affidavit alleges that Culler said she could not remember specific details about striking the child at other times on Aug. 19 because she was very intoxicated.

Following her not guilty plea, bond was set at $10,000 signature.  The trial is set to begin on Jan. 11.

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