MARYLAND • An 11-year-old girl in the US has been charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in death after she allegedly assaulted a one-year-old she was left to care for, police said.
Police in Prince George's County, Maryland, are not naming the girl because she is being charged as a juvenile, but they said the victim was Paxton Davis of Washington. The girl charged is being held at a juvenile detention facility, police said.
The mother of the boy had left him in the care of adult members of the 11-year-old's family at their Suitland, Maryland, home on Feb 23, county police said. The family was friendly with Paxton's family and he had been to the home before, police said.
Paxton spent the night "supervised correctly" with adults in the home, said Major Brian Reilly, commander of the Criminal Investigation Division for the Prince George's County police.
The next morning, the girl's mother left the house to run an errand and left Paxton alone in the care of her young daughter. That was when the assault occurred, police said. "It was an innocent friendly agreement" to watch the child, "that obviously turned absolutely tragic", Mr Reilly said.
Relatives of the 11-year-old returned home and found Paxton injured and called 911. The boy was rushed to Children's National Medical Centre in Washington.
The baby was suffering from severe upper body trauma and died last Thursday from the injuries, police said.
It was an innocent friendly agreement that obviously turned absolutely tragic.
MAJOR BRIAN REILLY, commander of the Criminal Investigation Division for the Prince George's County police.
The 11-year-old girl has admitted to assaulting the boy during that period, but police declined to say if a weapon was used.
Citing the ongoing probe, Mr Reilly would not say how long the 11-year-old had been left alone with Paxton other than that it was "very brief". He also said veteran detectives with Prince George's do not recall anyone as young as the suspect being charged out of the homicide unit with such a serious offence.
In Maryland, children must be at least 13 years old to babysit another child without an adult. Mr Reilly said the 11-year-old had not taken care of Paxton previously.
In November, a 10-year-old Wisconsin girl was charged as an adult in the killing of an infant, according to a report from The Associated Press.
The girl was a foster child living at a home that also served as a day-care centre. The girl dropped a baby who was at the centre and stomped on the crying child's head, the AP report said.
In 2010, an 11-year-old girl in Georgia was charged with murder after a two-year-old in her care died, according to local news reports.