Bluffton man gets 50 years after pleading guilty to murder of toddler

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By: Associated Press

BLUFFTON, Ind. (AP) — A northeastern Indiana man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.

Thirty-one-year-old Zachary Barnes was sentenced Thursday for the January death of 3-year-old Owen Collins. The boy died of blunt force trauma and his burned body was found inside a box in a rural Wells County woods. Barnes and the boy’s mother, Breanna Arnold, initially had reported the child was missing.

Barnes read a prepared statement in court, saying he was “lost in the addiction of toxic drugs” and saying Owen’s death will haunt him. He also apologized to the boy’s father, Tyler Collins.

Outside the courtroom, Collins told WANE-TV the apology rang hollow.

Arnold and a teenager also face charges in the case.