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Foster mom sentenced in girl’s death

Joy Ann Heaven

Joy Ann Heaven, 31, of Gaines Township, was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison last week in the death of a Cedar Springs girl.

Emily Meno, 5, died of a brain injury last summer after Heaven, her foster mother, hit her with something hard. She entered a no-contest plea last month on a felony murder charge, just as her trial was about begin.

Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock delivered the sentence, and told Heaven that Emily’s death “was not an accident,” but “an intentional and violent act.”

“(It was) more likely out of frustration, but because of you, this little girl will not be able to grow up and know her sister,” Trusock said, speaking of her twin sister Tiffany. “She will not be able to grow up and go to school and have a family, nor will she be able to enjoy holidays. What you did was violently kill an innocent 5-year-old child.”

Emily Meno

Both Emily and Tiffany were special needs children, and Heaven’s first placement as a foster mom. Tiffany has since been placed in a new foster home.

Emily is the daughter of Lori Meno, of Cedar Springs, and Carl Meno, of Sand Lake.

This is not the first heart-wrenching loss that Lori Meno has suffered. On August 17, 2009, her oldest daughter, April Sue Kirtley, 10, was killed when a drunk driver hit her father’s vehicle head-on after he had picked her up for visitation.

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