A 9-year-old Florida girl died on Saturday afternoon after her 64-year-old cousin allegedly sat on her as punishment for misbehaving.
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Veronica Green Posey has been charged with cruelty towards and child and homicide in the death of her young cousin, Dericka Lindsay, according to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff, People reports.
Posey, who weighs 325 pounds, told police she sat on the girl for being “out of control,” the report alleges. Posey said that when she stood up and realized Dericka was unresponsive, she started CPR and called 911.
Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith, 62 – listed in the police report as Dericka’s parents – were also arrested and charged with child neglect for allegedly failing to report the abuse. The parents allegedly called Posey to the house for help in disciplining Dericka. According to Grace Smith’s arrest report, Posey allegedly hit Dericka with a ruler and a metal pipe during the altercation.
In James Smith’s arrest report, he told police that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka in an armchair for “about 10 minutes.” Dericka “complained of being unable to breathe,” the report states. James Smith told deputies that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka for an additional two minutes before standing up.
Posey has been released from jail on $125,000 bond. Grace Smith was released on $75,000 bond. James Smith was still being held on $50,000 bond at press time.
Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that the state’s child welfare system is familiar with the family — and vows to conduct an inquiry.
“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,” Carroll said in the statement. “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.”