Three family members were placed behind bars after a little girl in Florida has died after her 325-pound cousin sat on her as punishment, even as the child complained she couldn’t breathe.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said 9-year-old Dericka Lindsay was pronounced dead on Saturday afternoon after officers received a cardiac arrest call at a Pensacola home.
When the first responders arrived, they found Dericka unresponsive, a local news reported. She was rushed to Baptist Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The little girl’s cousin identified as the 64-year-old Veronica Green Posey, told police she had sat on Dericka “for being out of control.”
According to the arrest report, the child said she could not breathe and after standing up Posey noticed Dericka was unresponsive. Posey said she called 911 and then started CPR. She later told deputies she weighed 325 pounds.
Posey was arrested and charged with with second-degree murder and cruelty toward a child.
The local police also arrested Lindsay’s parents, 69-year-old Grace Joan Smith and 62-year-old James Edmund Smith. They were charged with child neglect for failing to report the abuse.
Dericka’s mother told police she called Posey, her niece, over to her house Saturday afternoon to help discipline the girl after they had problems.
According to investigations, Posey arrived and allegedly began strucking Dericka with a metal pipe and a ruler before sitting on the child.
Dericka’s father said Posey was sitting on his daughter for about 10 minutes before she started complaining of breathing problems. Lindsay then ran away and sat down on a chair where Posey then sat on the child.
He said Posey remained sitting on the child for another two minutes before she got up.
Posey was taken to Escambia County Jail on a $125,000 bond. Jail records show she was released on Monday.
Grace’s bond was set for $75,000 and she was also released on Monday. James remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.
Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, issued a statement that called 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,” the statement said.