PENSACOLA, Fla. — A 325-pound (150-kilogram) Florida woman is charged with killing her nine-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment.
Veronica Green Posey, 64, was arrested and charged with homicide and cruelty toward a child, The Pensacola News Journal reported. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office report identified Posey as the girl's cousin.
Paramedics and deputies responded to the family's Pensacola home following a 911 call Saturday. Posey told deputies she sat on Dericka Lindsay as discipline "for being out of control."
During the punishment, Dericka told Posey and two other adult relatives, who are identified in the report as the girl's parents, that she couldn't breathe. When Posey got up, Dericka wasn't breathing. Authorities said Posey called 911 and started CPR on the child.
The arrest report said Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith are charged with child neglect.
Grace Smith called Posey, who is her niece, to her house to help with disciplining the girl, according to the report. She told investigators that Posey hit the girl with a ruler and metal pipe before the child ran to an armchair.
James Smith told investigators that Posey sat on the girl for about 10 minutes before she complained she couldn't breathe. She stayed on the chair for an additional two minutes before getting up, he said.
Child welfare investigating
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.
Posey was released Monday on US$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. Escambia County jail records didn't list an attorney for Posey or the Smiths.
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