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Father of Mercedes Lain sentenced to 2 1/2 years for neglect in daughter's death

Eleven-month-old Mercedes Lain was killed in August 2021 by an acquaintance of her parents.
Credit: Plymouth Police Department
Mercedes Lain, 11 months old.

PLYMOUTH, Ind. — The father of an 11-month-old girl killed last year in northern Indiana was given the maximum sentence for neglect, but could still be out of jail by the end of the year.

Kenneth Lain pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent in January in connection with the death of his daughter, Mercedes, last August. Police said Lain and the girl's mother, Tiffany Coburn, left Mercedes with 37-year-old Justin Miller. After giving conflicting stories about the child, Miller eventually said he woke up at a home in Mishawaka and Mercedes was dead. 

Miller then led police to a location in Starke County where the girl's body was found.

He was sentenced to 65 years in prison in January.

According to WNDU, Kenneth Lain was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in prison for the neglect charge. But with good time credit for the six months he has been in jail already, a year of the sentence is being considered as time served. 

If Lain continues to earn good time credit, which is one day off his sentence for every day he serves, he will have served the remaining 18 months of his prison sentence in nine months, which would lead to his release before the end of this year.

Credit: Marshall County Sheriff's Office
Kenneth Lain and Tiffany Coburn

Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman told WNDU the condition of the motel where Mercedes Lain was living with her parents, as well as Miller's character led to Lain receiving the maximum possible sentence for the crime.

“Mercedes was living in the Economy Inn and the living conditions there were one of the bases of neglect of a dependent, along with transferring temporary custody to Justin Miller who had a background that no self-respecting parent would turn their infant child over to,” he said.

Credit: Marshall County Sheriff's Office
Justin Miller

According to WNDU, Lain's attorney sought a 1 1/2-year sentence with six months of probation, giving him an opportunity to stay in addiction recovery and turn his life around. However, prosecutors argued that Lain's previous probation violations and felony convictions related to neglect of a dependent made him a high risk to re-offend.

Coburn is pleading guilty to the same charge as Kenneth Lain. Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25. 

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