A Houston woman and her boyfriend have been charged in the death of the woman’s 19-month-old daughter who is said to have been burned inside an oven after being left at home alone with her three siblings.
Racqual Thompson, 25, and Cornell Malone, 21, were charged Nov. 24 with four counts each of endangering a child, The Associated Press reports.
According to court documents obtained by KPRC News, Thompson left the children alone in her apartment to pick up Malone at work on the evening of Nov. 16. The couple returned to the apartment and put the children to bed.
Documents allege the couple then left to get pizza and visit Malone’s brother and were gone for about two hours.
“Mr. Malone stated that when they returned and went into the apartment, he could ‘smell something burning,’” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by AP.
The couple reportedly told police they found the three other children crying and pointing to the kitchen.
There, the couple, according to the affidavit, found the oven tipped over with the door face down on the floor and Thompson’s daughter, J’zyra, apparently inside.
Malone, according to the affidavit, said he “uprighted the ‘range’ and the next thing he noticed was J'zyra was lying on the floor. He stated that she was obviously burned and deceased.” The affidavit indicated the oven had been turned on “all the way.”
Police told AP that Malone is not J’zyra’s father.
After reading the charges against them Tuesday, the judge set Malone’s and Thompson’s bond at $36,000 each.
Thompson’s other three children are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
CPS has declined to comment on the case as the records it filed in the case have been sealed by a judge, according to AP.
Thompson is currently 8 1/2 months pregnant, AP reports.
Authorities told KPRC that typically, in such cases, they will wait for the mother to give birth and then decide whether to request custody through a judge.
Thompson and Malone both requested court appointed-attorneys. They are due again in court Nov. 30, AP reports.