A Florida woman has been charged with murder after she fatally crushed her 9-year-old cousin while sitting on her as an act of punishment.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 14. Veronica Green Posey, 64, was called to the home of Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith, 62, to help discipline 9-year-old Dericka Lindsay "for being out of control," the New York Daily News reported.
Grace told police Posey hit Dericka with a metal pipe and ruler before sitting on her during the ensuing altercation. James added that Posey sat on the toddler for 10 whole minutes before she began complaining about not being able to breathe.
Despite Dericka's complaints, Posey continued sitting on the child for two more minutes before finally getting up. At that time, Posey realized the child was unresponsive, according to the arrest report.
Posey said she called the authorities and began performing CPR on Dericka. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office responded to the cardiac arrest call and rushed Dericka to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Posey eventually informed the deputy that she weighed 325 pounds.
Posey was charged with homicide and is now facing life in prison. She could also be charged with aggravated child abuse. Grace and James, who are listed as Dericka's adoptive parents, were also arrested. They are facing charges of child neglect for failing to report the abuse. Grace was also charged with cruelty toward a child.
Posey has since been released from prison on $125,000 bond, People reported. Grace was also released on $75,000 bond, while James remains in jail on $50,000 bond, according to jail records.
None of the suspects have entered a plea at this time and it is unclear whether any of them have an attorney.
Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, issued a statement on the incident to the Pensacola News Journal confirming that the family had been previously contacted by the state's child welfare program.
"Dericka’s death is appalling and DCF will continue coordinating with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her death accountable," the statement read. "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."