Detoshia Spence, of Delmar, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder by abuse and other charges.

The now 24-year-old Spence reported finding her 3-year-old daughter, Nyeisha Spence, dead on her couch around 7 p.m. on April 17, 2015. At the time, the two lived in the 900 block of Daniel Street in the Carvel Gardens community of Laurel.

“She was the sweetest girl, a girly-girl,” said Nyeisha’s father, 23-year-old Dale Juan Waters, of Millsboro. “Nye gave me the biggest hug every time we saw each other and she really loved her little brother, Dredon.”

An autopsy conducted by the Delaware Division of Forensic Sciences determined the girl’s manner of death to be a homicide, and state police opened up a death investigation. Bruising on the child’s body and other evidence led them to believe she was repeatedly abused.

Spence was indicted July 27, 2015 on charges of second-degree murder by abuse, two counts of second-degree child abuse and offensive touching. She turned herself in to police two days later and was committed to the Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in default of $111,100 cash bond.

Waters said he was shocked when Spence was accused of child abuse. “I didn’t want to believe it,” he said. The couple parted ways after their daughter’s death.

The Spence case was the first prosecuted by Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, along with Deputy Attorneys General Melanie Withers and Rebecca Anderson. The team secured guilty pleas from Spence on the murder and child abuse charges.

“I am very grateful for the outstanding investigative work that was done by the Delaware State Police on this case,” Denn said. “The many interviews conducted by DSP provided the factual backdrop that allowed us to secure a guilty plea from the defendant.”

Spence was immediately sentenced by Superior Court Judge Scott Bradley to 15 years in prison, followed by six months of home confinement and two years of probation.

“I think 15 years isn’t enough,” Waters said. “If it was your little girl, would it be enough?”