A child died in the most nightmarish of circumstances when her siblings put her into an oven while their mother and her boyfriend had gone out to get some pizza, according to reports. The couple, both of whom belong to Houston, have now been charged in the death of the 19-month-old girl.
Racqual Thompson, 25, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Cornell Malone, both face four counts of child endangerment for leaving Thompson’s four children home alone for almost three hours on the night of November 16, according to charging documents obtained by People.
J’zyra Thompson, a 19-month-old girl, died that night after being left under the supervision of her three siblings, the eldest of whom is a 5-year-old. One of the children put her into the oven, while another turned it on. ABC’s Houston affiliate reports that the children, whose names have not been released, later told Child Protective Services that they could hear J’zyra kicking in the oven, but they could not dare bring her out.
When Thompson and Malone returned later that night, they found the three other children crying and pointing to the kitchen, according to the police.
“When they returned and went into the apartment, Malone could ‘smell something burning,’ ” the police stated in the report.
Once in the kitchen, the couple found that the oven had tipped over with its door face down on the floor, with J’zyra apparently still trapped inside the oven. Malone stated that on removing the oven, he found the little girl lying on the floor, completely “burned” and charred to an acute degree. Thompson then tried performing CPR on the toddler, but it was too late. The little girl was already dead with severe burns.
The oven had been turned on “all the way,” according to the documents.
The couple appeared in court Tuesday evening, with Malone wearing “orange jumpsuits” during the court appearance, while Thompson held her belly. The Huffington Post reports that Thompson is eight and a half months pregnant, and due to deliver her fifth child in the next couple of weeks.
In the court, the judge read the charges against them and set a bond of $36,000 each.
“[I saw the children] with just a pamper on, no shirt, no shoes or nothing,” Miranda Oneil Johnson, a neighbor, said. “Like, running around. I’m like, ‘Where is the momma or the daddy?’ ”
The couple had earlier even bragged about having escaped persecution, according to Jeremy Tilley, another neighbor.
“I’ve never heard of a baby being burned up, and nobody being held responsible. They were saying that it wasn’t their fault, and that they’re gonna get away with it, and they weren’t there and this and that.”
Some neighbors said that the tragedy should leave parents very concerned about leaving their children unsupervised.
“Call a family member, call a friend, put them in daycare. Don’t leave your kids at home,” Aisha Eason said to reporters after the incident came to light. “This is serious right here. There’s a baby dead.”
Frederick Price, father of two of Thompson’s four children — both aged 3 — arrived at her house after he came to know about what had transpired. He said he had not heard from his ex-girlfriend for months.
“I need to know where they are, I haven’t heard from my children in months,” he said. “I’ve been trying to contact Racquel.”
He hopes to take his children away. For the time being, however, the other three kids who were living in the apartment have been taken into CPS custody.
[Photo via Houston Police Department via KHOU]