A 9-year-old Pensacola, Fla., child was killed after her 325-pound adult cousin allegedly sat on her as a way to punish the young girl for misbehaving.
According to the Pensacola News, 64-year-old Veronica Green Posey is facing charges of homicide and cruelty toward a child following the incident that occurred Saturday afternoon. Paramedics found the victim, Dericka Lindsay, unresponsive and rushed her to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The arrest report notes that Posey told the responding deputy that she sat on Dericka to punish her “for being out of control.” Throughout the “punishment,” Dericka told Posey and other adults present that she could not breathe. When Posey finally stood up, they found the child unresponsive and called 911.
It was Posey who told investigators that she weighed about 325 pounds, according to the news site.
Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmond Smith, 62, are also facing charges of child neglect in the case for failing to report the abuse. In addition, Grace Smith is facing charges of cruelty toward a child in the incident. The report lists the Smiths as Dericka’s parents. Posey was listed as the Smiths’ niece.
Grace Smith called Posey to her home to assist with disciplining the young child, according to the report. Grace Smith told investigators that Posey struck Dericka with a ruler and a metal pipe before Dericka ran to an armchair. Posey then sat on the small child in the armchair for about 10 minutes before Dericka complained that she couldn’t breathe. Still, Posey remained seated for another two minutes before finally getting up.
In a statement to the Pensacola News, Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, acknowledged that the family had previous interactions with the system.
“Dericka’s death is appalling and DCF will continue coordinating with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her death accountable,” Carroll said. “As the family has a prior interaction with the child-welfare system, a thorough quality-assurance review will be conducted to review all prior interactions this family has had with the child-welfare system.”
The Smiths and Posey were all booked in Escambia County Jail. Posey’s bond was set at $125,000 and she was released. Grace Smith’s bond was set at $75,000 and James Smith’s bond was set at $50,000, and as of Monday afternoon, both Smiths were still in jail.
Read more at USA Today.