A 320-pound Florida woman reportedly caused the death of a little girl after sitting on her as a form of punishment. The 9-year-old girl had a behavioral problem, and the woman, who is said to be the child’s cousin, was beckoned by the girl’s mother to help. Dericka Lindsay Smith is identified as the deceased child who died after her mother called in the child’s much older cousin, Veronica Posey, 64, to give her a hand with the little girl’s behavior.
Little Dericka Lindsay was only 3-feet tall and she weighed just 74-pounds when this form of punishment entailed a 64-year-old woman who weighed 320 pounds to sit on her. According to The Washington Post, by sitting on the child, Posey caused the little girl to go into cardiac arrest, which ended her life. The stories are conflicting on just how long Posey remained on top of the child.
The father and mother of Dericka were home at the time and the father reports it was about 10 minutes into the punishment when the girl complained that she was having a hard time breathing. The father, James Smith, 62, said that when his daughter complained Posey didn’t get up right away. She waited about another two minutes before getting off of the girl.
The police reports indicate that the incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a home in Pensacola, Florida. Posey told investigators that by the time she stood up, her little cousin was not breathing. Dericka’s mother, Grace Smith, 69, who referred to Posey as her niece, told police that she had called Posey for help in disciplining Dericka.
According to The Washington Post, the arrest report has “several redacted portions” that it is hard to pin down just how long the police report indicates that Posey sat on the child. Posey is now facing a murder charge.
According to local ABC News, Dericka ran and sat in an armchair after Posey had hit her with a “metal pipe” and a “ruler.” This is the armchair in which Posey sat down on top of the child. Posey told the police that when she stood up, she realized the little girl was unconscious. She called 911 and started CPR on the child.
It is unclear from the police report if the child’s parents also attempted to revive the child. She was rushed to the hospital, but an hour later, she died. Posey has been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated abuse.
The parents, who were both at home while Posey sat on the girl as an act of punishment, are also facing charges. Police have charged the parents with child neglect. While the family has had previous interactions with Florida’s Department of Children and Families, the details of that interaction are protected by law from becoming public knowledge.
Mike Carroll, who is the secretary of the state’s Department of Children and Families, did divulge that there was the previous contact with the family, but that’s as far as he could go with information legally. He promised to do a thorough review of the previous interactions with this family. Carroll called this death “appalling.” If the child’s death is found to be the cause of neglect or abuse when the case goes to court, then those records will be made public.
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