A nine-year-old Florida girl is dead after her 325-pound cousin sat on her as a form of punishment.
Paramedics and deputies responded to a cardiac arrest call at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday at a Pensacola home. Upon arrival, the victim, Dericka Lindsay, was found to be unresponsive and transported to Baptist Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Veronica Green Posey, 64, told deputies that she sat on Dericka as a discipline “for being out of control.” Posey was then arrested and charged with homicide and cruelty toward a child, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Posey was identified as the little girl’s cousin.
The Pensacola News Journal reported that the child’s parents have been charged with child neglect. According to the police report, Grace Joan Smith, 69, called Posey, who is her niece, and asked her to come to her house to help with disciplining Dericka. She told investigators that Posey hit the girl with a ruler and a metal pipe before the child ran to an armchair.
The girl’s father, James Edmund Smith, was also present when Posey decided to sit on the child as further punishment. Dericka reportedly told Posey and her parents that she couldn’t breathe, but her complaint was ignored.
James Smith told investigators that Posey sat on the girl for approximately 10 minutes before she complained about not being able to breathe. The obese woman then stayed on the chair for an additional two minutes before getting up, he said. They noticed that Dericka wasn’t breathing, so Posey called 911 and started CPR on the child.
Mike Carroll, a secretary at the Florida Department of Children and Families, issued a statement calling the child’s death “appalling.” He said the agency will work with the sheriff’s office to hold those responsible for her death accountable.
“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,” according to the statement.
Posey was released from Escambia County Jail Monday on $125,000 bail. The Smiths remained in jail, with Grace Smith’s bond set at $75,000 and James Smith’s bond at $50,000.
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