Aunt accused of using ice bath to punish child sentenced to 12 years

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A judge handed down the maximum sentence Thursday to a young woman who tortured a 3-year-old girl, putting her in an ice cold bath as punishment.

That 12-year-old sentence came after some emotional testimony from police and first responders, who say this case is one they will never forget.

January 29,  2016 was the day 3-year-old Mikayla was found face down, cold and unresponsive in a bathtub — put there by her 18-year-old Aunt Tiffany Desvigne and her grandmother Adelle Rigsby for peeing her pants.

When she arrived at UNM Hospital, she had no heartbeat, her temperature and dropped 18 degrees, but paramedics, doctors and nurses didn’t give up on her, and brought her back.

Investigators later determined it wasn’t the first time she had been tortured this way, and she had been beaten repeatedly.

Those involved in the investigation still talk about this case.

“It’s a scene that still haunts me. When we left that call that night, we were different,” an investigator said.

“It’s still stunning to me that that is how she was treated in that house,” Detective Jeff Jones said.

Thursday, Desvigne’s attorneys argued the 18-year-old didn’t know better, that the grandmother should carry the blame.

“She is a good person, a good person who made a terrible decision,” her attorney said.

In the end, it was the testimony from those who saw this crime firsthand that had the most weight.

In District Court, Judge Benjamin Chavez handed down the maximum sentence  of 12 years.

The grandmother, Adelle Rigsby, is scheduled for sentencing next month. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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