A Missouri toddler died after his parents left him in a room with a space heater for almost two days while they cooked meth.
Lucas Barnes and Kathleen Peacock were arrested after their 2-year-old son was neglected for 38 hours in a room with a space heater that caused the child to become extremely overheated. Both parents faced charges of abuse and neglect of a child resulting in death, as well as drug-related charges.
St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar told KMOX that both parents were believed to have been under the influence of drugs at the time, which is why they did not respond to 2-year-old Braydon Barnes' cries.
An autopsy revealed that the toddler was malnourished and had not eaten for at least two days when he was found.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, the boy had been deceased for a while. Peacock later said that she heard noises from the boy's room and knew she should have checked on him but did not. The trailer where the couple lived was reportedly in uninhabitable condition.
"This is a sad example of people who are incapable of being a parent to a child," Lohmar said. "The sad part is that the community has resources for people like this. We’ve got the crisis nursery, we’ve got other resources available for people who are overwhelmed, who are incapable of providing for their child. Sadly, it takes cases like this, perhaps, to remind people that those resources are out there waiting to be used."
The trailer, Lohmar said, included dirty dishes and feces throughout.
"I’d love to tell you this is the worst case we’ve ever seen, but it’s not," he said. "We see things like this with some degree of regularity, unfortunately, and it typically follows a similar pattern, so this is as sad as any of those."
Peacock, who is pregnant, has previous charges against her for child endangerment after she drove under the influence with a child in the car.
The probable cause statement stated that the trailer was being used to make methamphetamine.
"Throw the book at them. They should be put in the same kind of condition and forgotten about. How in the world can you be this in humane?? God forgive you!!" one Mad World News reader commented in response on the site's Facebook page.
"Meth heads should be sterilized and if they have children that children should be immediately taken from them don't be afraid to turn their men you might save the life of a child," another added.