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Rosa Jimenez was released on bond on January 27 after spending seventeen years behind bars for a crime she most likely did not commit.

In 2003, 21-month-old Bryan Gutierrez choked on a wad of paper towels while Jimenez was babysitting him. He initially survived but passed away three months later in hospice from his injuries.

Medical experts testified that Bryan could not have forced the five attached paper towels down his own throat, concluding that he must have been purposefully choked by Jimenez. She was consequently convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Now, five pediatric airway experts have testified that Bryan’s death was most likely accidental. This includes one of the original medical experts, who has now reversed her testimony from Jimenez’s 2005 trial.

This new testimony led Judge Karen Sage to conclude that the child’s death was a “tragic accident”. Because of this, she ordered Jimenez, now 38-years-old, to be released on bond.

Judge Sage also found that the original trial included “false and misleading testimony,” and was “infected with constitutional error.”

“There was no crime committed here … Ms. Jimenez is innocent.” Said Judge Sage. 

The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals is now deciding whether Jimenez should undergo a new trial or if her charges should be vacated.

“This case is an absolute tragedy,” said Travis County District Attorney José Garza. “It is a tragedy for Ms. Jimenez and her entire family that they have had to suffer through this process for so long. And we cannot forget that this is also a tragedy for Ms. Gutierrez, who lost her son.”

Jimenez has been reunited with her two kids, one of which was one when she was arrested while the other was born in prison.

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