3 plead not guilty in death of Nebraska toddler

By: Newsroom

FRANKLIN, Neb. (AP) – Three people charged in the death of Franklin County toddler have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

24-year-old Laura Rinehart, of Naponee, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Franklin County District Court to child abuse in the April 30 death of her 2-year-old son, Joseph Rinehart. Her parents and the boy's grandparents, Peter and Nancy Draper, also pleaded not guilty to child abuse resulting in death.

Nebraska State Patrol investigators say Peter Draper lost his temper while disciplining the boy, who died of head and internal injuries caused by blunt force trauma. Investigators say Draper's wife and daughter did nothing to stop the abuse.