A father of two in Texas has been charged after his 6-year-old daughter allegedly strangled her baby brother to death with a seatbelt while he went thrifting.
Adrian Dreshaun Middleton, 26, reportedly told authorities that prior to the incident, which occurred in the parking lot of a thrift store near Jacinto City on May 20, he gave the children snacks and water before he went shopping, according to a criminal complaint filed in Harris County on Friday (and later uploaded by local outlet KHOU 11 News Houston).
He added that when he returned to the vehicle, his son, 1-year-old Adrian Middleton Jr., was unconscious with a seat belt around his neck.
The 6-year-old girl eventually told investigators that she had been playing in the car with her brother while they waited for their father, but the boy started to cry after she stopped playing.
Annoyed by her brother’s temper tantrum, she said she got him to stop crying by wrapping the seatbelt around him. Apparently, the girl thought her sibling had simply fallen asleep.
Middleton initially told investigators he had put the children in their car seats, turned on the air conditioning, gave them a some snacks and water and left them alone for around 30 to 45 minutes, checking on them from the store’s window while doing his errand.
However, Middleton later admitted that there were no carseats in his vehicle at the time.
Additionally, surveillance footage showed that Middleton was shopping for much longer than he said at first; he was in the store for about one hour and 40 minutes.
Middleton told deputies that he noticed his daughter crying as he was placing his shopping bags in the trunk. She reportedly “told him that she needed to use the restroom and that she did something bad,” according to the court documents.
Middleton said that he found his son sitting in the car’s rear with a seatbelt wrapped around his neck. He performed CPR on the boy while he waited for emergency responders to arrive.
Unfortunately, the child was pronounced dead soon after he arrived at a children’s hospital.
The complaint alleged Middleton put his son in an "unreasonable risk of harm," and accused of him of failing to realize that the circumstances he created placed his son in "imminent danger of death, bodily injury, physical impairment and mental impairment.”
Middleton turned himself in to the Baytown Police Department on Friday. He has been charged with child endangerment.
Meanwhile, the girl has been placed in the custody of her grandmother, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Bill Prasad, a licensed professional counselor, told KHOU 11 that the 6-year-old shouldn't be blamed because she lacked the ability to truly understand her actions.
"6 years old (is) too young to be held accountable for this,” he said. "As adults, we have trouble in those situations. A 6-year-old has virtually no impulse control. So you really cannot trust a 6-year-old in that situation to be able to restrain his or herself and make a good decision."
[Photo Credit: Houston Police Department]
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