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Slain Vt. girl's mother had history of abusing her

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Court records show the mother of a 2-year-old girl allegedly killed by her stepfather was convicted of abusing the girl last year.

Sandra Eastman of Poultney was sentenced in July to probation after admitting she abused Dezirae Sheldon in February 2013, when the girl was 11 months old.

Dezirae died Friday, two days after she arrived at a hospital with a fractured skull. Her 31-year-old stepfather, Dennis Duby of Poultney, pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder.

Records show a recommendation was made to place Dezirae in state custody following the February 2013 abuse, in which doctors noted two broken legs. It's unclear if the state took the girl. Officials did not return calls and emails seeking comment Tuesday.

Eastman did not return a call Tuesday.

Human Services Secretary Douglas Racine says an external investigation will be conducted.