Michael Thigpen, 34, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday, March 14th for the death of his infant child who he left in a hot van along with two of his other small children who suffered injury. The Auburn man pled guilty Feb. 21 to second-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault.

Thigpen was arrested Sept. 18, 2017, admitting to authorities he had left his three small children inside a family van on June 10, 2017, which resulted in the death of his baby, and the hospitalization of his two other small children due to severe heat. When first questioned, Thigpen denied knowing what had happened to the children.

Later, the Auburn father claimed he went inside his trailer in John's Mobile Home Park and fell asleep leaving the children in the van. He told police that once he woke up and realized the children were in the vehicle, he brought them inside the trailer attempting to cool them down.

Thigpen made no statement before his sentencing by Circuit Judge Tyler Gill. However, Gill had plenty to say before handing down his ruling.

"This is a perplexing situation," said Gill. "Probably the saddest guilty plea I have taken. One of the saddest situations I've ever seen. One of the worst aspects of it is that Mr. Thigpen did not tell the truth immediately when he found that he'd left his children in the car."

Gill noted that the couple also had a child die in 2013 from sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise knows as SIDS.

"This was the second tragedy this family had in about four years," Gill said. "This child was five months old and mom is going to work and dad's been working all night as an Uber driver up for maybe 24 hours. Comes in, takes mom to work, comes back home with all three children in the vehicle, goes into the house, sits down and falls asleep, one dies, the other two seriously damaged, he wakes up and realizes at some point that he had left them in the car, went out and the child was dead and one was having a seizure at some point after that."

The judge said there was a lot of "mysteries" surrounding what happened.

"Even if he hadn't done what he did, he had been up for 24 hours. He's supposed to be caring for three children. Mom's going to work. How's he supposed to stay awake and care for these kids? Even had he not sat down and fallen asleep, what's he supposed to be doing?" Gill said. "Was the child dead when he found them? I don't know. Seemed to him to be dead. Certainly was because of a delay in reporting. I don't know how much of the delay it was exactly or would it have made a difference? I don't know."

Gill also noted that there was a criminal history involving marijuana.

"Mysteriously mom walks away from the situation, mysteriously. She gives up any interest in all children. What's going on with that?" Gill said. "I've got a man who has a lot of remorse there's no doubt about that. I look back in 2004, there was a charge of child abuse and neglect in Tennessee along with possession of marijuana. Later on another possession of marijuana in 2007. There is a lot going on here that I wish I knew what was happening but I'm guessing that what I have is people with children who are living their life by accident using drugs not thinking it through. Children die in that situation."

Rick Boling, the special prosecutor in the case, told Gill he felt a 10-year sentence was appropriate.

The judge said that the sentence was tough because it involved the death of a child through neglect.

"This living by accident is killing a lot of our children. People using drugs -meth, heroin, marijuana - they are all really sorry about their children dying," Gill said. "I think Mr. Boiling probably said it best, 'the nature of the offense just cries out for a sentence,' and so I'm going to impose the 10-year sentence. Not so much to beat you up. I can't beat you up. It's just to let everybody know we've got to protect our children. You can't live by accident. "I've got a guy trying to make a living driving as an Uber driver all night. He shouldn't have been left with those kids after being up for 24 hours. He's got three kids in a hot trailer. This was just a tragedy waiting to happen."