Florida Woman Arrested After Reportedly Ignoring 6-Year-Old Boy’s Cry For Help As He Was Allegedly Being Suffocated To Death By Father

A Florida woman, who ignored a 6-year-old boy’s cry for help as he was allegedly being suffocated to death by his father, was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, according to Wink News. At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 22-year-old Ashley Cole of Englewood was playing video games with her live-in boyfriend James Dearman, 31, who later became irate because his son, also named James Dearman but goes by the name Jimmy, wouldn’t go to bed.

As punishment, he instructed his son, as well as his 7-year-old daughter, to stand with their nose against the wall. When the children disobeyed and decided to run around the house instead, the father’s girlfriend – who is not his children’s mother – allegedly suggested they punish them by “squishing.” Dearman, who is over six feet tall and weighs 270 pounds, agreed with Cole and “forced the victim [his son] to lie on his side, on the couch, with his face against the rear couch cushions,” according to court documents.

After the boy complied, the father began to pin him to the couch using his body weight, suffocating him while Cole helped by holding his feet, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. As his son desperately tried to free himself, he screamed, “‘I can’t breathe’ and begged to use the bathroom.” When the father allegedly refused to stop pinning his son to the couch to use the facilities, the boy “eventually urinated on the couch” and on his father just before becoming unconscious. The child was pinned to the couch for approximately five minutes before he became motionless. Ten minutes later, the couple left the child on the couch and went to the garage to smoke a cigarette, according to NBC News.

When they returned to the living room, they discovered the boy still laying on the couch, motionless with blue lips. Cole told police officials that she immediately ran to the garage to pray while her boyfriend called 911 and performed CPR. When paramedics arrived at the home on 920 Lord Street, they immediately transported the boy to Englewood Community Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

According to the medical examiner Dr. Russell Vega, the boy died from “some form of asphyxiation, based upon the pressure applied to the child’s back.” The medical examiner also stated that his death was suspicious.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Captain John Walsh, who was at the scene, stated that when he saw bruises on the child’s back, “There’s not a detective or anybody who isn’t pretty upset about this and finds it egregious and malicious, the treatment of a 6-year-old child.”

Neighbor Avis Klein was shocked after learning that the little boy she saw playing outside with his sister as she went on her morning walks is dead. “No, I can’t fathom it,” she said through tears. “Normal little kids. Yeah, they were boisterous but they stayed in their own yard. Not a bother to anybody.”

Dearman was arrested several days later and charged with “aggravated manslaughter in the death of his son James “Jimmy” Dearman.” His bond was set at $1 million.

Cole wasn’t arrested until January 4 when police officials say she played a part in the suffocation death of the 6-year-old boy. She too was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, but she is currently being held at the Sarasota County jail without a bond.

The boy’s 7-year-old sister, who was present during the time her father allegedly suffocated her younger brother to death, was uninjured and spoke with investigators and said, “When dad squished him, he got dead.” She is currently in the care of the department and children services as the agency stated that they were unable to get in contact with the child’s relatives.

[Image via Sarasota County Sherriff’s Office]