Woman gets prison for child endangerment

An Atascadero woman who locked her 10-year-old granddaughter in a closet for days was sentenced to six years in state prison on Thursday.

Tammi Underwood, 43, received her sentence from Judge Dodie A. Harman after entering a plea of no contest in June to felony child endangerment.

A no-contest plea results in a conviction without admitting guilt.

Underwood was arrested in March on suspicion of the alleged abuse of the girl at her home in the 5700 block of Carrizo Road.

The closets the girl was locked in measured 2 feet by 22⁄3 feet and 3 feet by 31⁄2 feet and smelled of urine, according to an Atascadero Police Department report.

Harman handed down the maximum sentence allowed by law for the child endangerment charge against Underwood.

But for the record in the case, Harman said that Underwood didn’t repeatedly beat the girl and that Underwood acknowledged wrongdoing early in the court proceedings; the record also now shows that Underwood didn’t have her 15-year-old son beat the girl, as was initially reported.

The 10-year-old granddaughter, as well as Underwood’s 15-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter each are under the supervision of the county’s Department of Social Services, said Tracy Buckingham, the agency’s assistant director.

“All three children are in different (custody) situations,” Buckingham said. “All three children need to be safe.”

Buckingham previously said officials at her agency were notified March 17 that the girl was repeatedly missing school.

Detectives seized a videotape from a camera pointed at the downstairs closet and used to monitor the girl, according to the police report.

The tape showed her leaving the closet, which which triggered an alarm.