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Police: Girl, 5, said she drowned boy over crying

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Juvenile justice experts expressed shock Thursday that police said they were treating the death of an 18-month-old boy who drowned in a bathtub as a potential homicide, after a 5-year-old girl told social workers that she held him under water to stop his crying.

Kansas City police said the girl, who was left with other children in the care of a teenager, was considered a possible suspect in the toddler's death last week, raising complicated legal questions about how a court could proceed with a case against such a young suspect.

Bart Lubow, the director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national child advocacy organization based in Baltimore, said a 5-year-old is incapable of forming intent, and likely wouldn't even know what drowning means.

"You can imagine a child responding to other children's crying by saying, `I know how to stop that.' But the notion that there was intent there is silly," Lubow said. "For a 5-year-old, this is well beyond the pale of what our criminal or delinquency laws are intended to address."

He said the case should proceed with a "very child-centered approach."

Police said the 5-year-old was not arrested, and the case was referred to the Jackson County's family courts division.;_ylt=Am3BNPOLdTKC6hOQqCOhoRmZ.aF4;_ylu=X3oDMTNqdjllN3N1BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNjEwL3VzX2Ryb3duaW5nX3lvdW5nX3N1c3BlY3QEY2NvZGUDdG9wZ21wdG9wMjAwcG9vbARjcG9zAzMEcG9zAzMEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNwb2xpY2VnaXJsNXM-

Thoughts on this???


Asked by mrssundin at 2:07 PM on Jun. 10, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 19 (6,722 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (25)
  • If the sitter was cognitively disabled then I would not really think charging her or him with this is a good fit. Nor charging a five year old. However, (and I would not assume this is the case here) I have seen kids who have burned animals, choked other children, and even were sexually reactive with younger or same age kids - even younger than five. Yes developmentally a five year old has no ability in the frontal cortex to reason out long term consequences but this is why they are impulsive and have fewer coping skills to match emotional meltdowns. The parents should ultimately be responsible if they chose a disabled sitter.

    Answer by frogdawg at 11:52 PM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • HI, I live in kansas city, and this is all over the news, the babysitter was supposedly asleep, and we have not had one mention of why in the hell would she not wake up with a crying baby going on and on, or hearing a 5 year old getting a toddler into the bathroom, filling the tub and all the noise that HAD to entail.. You know the 5 year old was just coming up with a solution to her problem, and I am sure she didn't mean to kill her.,, but IMO the babysitter needs to be charged--I honestly think she may not have been there, and is trying to cover her tracks.

    Answer by kimigogo at 2:11 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Something is off about this story.... as the mother of a 5 year old I know that they are very good at problem solving yet their methods are still pretty "juvenile". Most 5 year olds leave the room or cover their ears or start screaming to drowning the undesirable sound... I think something is fishy about a 5 year old deciding that the best idea is to go fill a bathub and then hold a baby under water. That's a lot of thinking for a 5 year old. I am wondering if the baby sitter didn't do it and told the little girl to say that...

    Also yes the parent's are idiots for leaving their child with this person. Sorry, but this person probably has trouble taking care of herself so why leave her alone with small children... Of course, there are varying degrees of disability, but the story makes it sound like she is pretty impaired and in no shape to care for young children.

    Answer by BriHan06 at 2:50 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • The teenage who was being aid to watch them is at fault. If she had been doing her job- even half assed- this would not have happened. Did the 5 year old do something stupid? -Yes. Is it her fault completely?- no. Should she be charged?-no- but she sure does need some counseling. Can you imagine living with the fact you killed your brother?

    Answer by But_Mommie at 2:13 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • I live near KC as well. On the news last night they mentioned the 16 yr old babysitter was developmentally disabled. Not sure how that plays into this but generally a competent 16 yr old is NOT going to be napping while two young kids are in a bath tub. Its a sad story all around.

    Answer by lisa89j at 2:16 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Oh wow. Wow. Sad for everyone involved. Not only did that little baby lose his life, this 5 year old girl is going to eventually understand what she really did. :-(

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 2:11 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • I work with a school system. A normal 5 years old know right from wrong . There something strange about this story.

    Answer by my3daugthers at 2:32 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • wow very very sad. the babysitter should def be charged as well. this is a very sad story. however, i don't know if that 5yr old knew what she was doing but you have to realize if you put a baby ina bathtub and put the baby under water she might have issues. psychological issues start very young. we might be preventing something from happening when she is adult. i don't know. its very unusual thing. its very sad.

    Answer by lambdarose at 2:22 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • I can't even read this.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 2:08 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • that is just awful... I can't imagine she knew what she was doing to the full intent... Although... I suppose that's what the lawyers will try to figure out. Sad really. just sad.

    Answer by Camilletnt at 2:13 PM on Jun. 10, 2011