A 325-pound Florida woman was sentenced to life in prison for sitting for five minutes on her 9-year-old cousin and smothering her.
Veronica Green Posey, 66 wanted to discipline and punish her cousin, Dericka Lindsay for being “out of control,” reported the Pensacola News-Journal. She was convicted for first-degree felony murder on March 15.
Posey told the deputy that during the course of punishment Dericka told the adults that she couldn’t breathe. Then, Posey stood up and found the child unresponsive before she called 911 and performed CPR.
The incident happened in October 2017 and the child died due to lack of oxygen. Posey’s attorney said she was trying to help Dericka’s parents and had no intention to hurt the child.
Dericka Lindsay case: To everyone who read Pensacola Girls about my neighbor friend Dericka Lindsay who was killed by child abuse, the woman who actually killed her, her cousin, was sentenced to life. (TW: child abuse) https://t.co/BqB89hSvDO
— Kristin Garth (@lolaandjolie) March 16, 2019
“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,” Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families had said after their arrest, according to The Associated Press.
Grace Smith called Posey to her house for assistance to punish Dericka. Smith said that Posey struck the girl with a ruler and a metal pipe before she ran and sat in an armchair. James Smith told the official that Posey sat on the girl in the armchair for 10 minutes before she complained of breathing problems. Posey, according to James, sat on the girl for two more minutes.
Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith, 62, were named in the report as the parents of Dericka, while stating that Posey is their niece, according to the News-Journal.
Posey’s attorney said the 320-pound (145-kilogram) woman was trying to help the Smiths and didn’t intend to hurt Dericka. https://t.co/CnKoWURbZ5
— KRIS 6 News (@KRIS6News) March 16, 2019
James Smith was earlier sentenced to 10 years for his role in Dericka’s death. Grace Smith is currently facing charges but is unfit to stand trial, according to NBC Philadelphia.
On Friday, teachers, classmates, and friends gathered at Dericka’s grave for a memorial service and blessed and dedicated a permanent marker in Resthaven Gardens Cemetery in Pensacola.
An estimated 674,000 children were determined to be victims of maltreatment in 2017, according to the Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
Of the victims, about 75 percent were neglected, 18 percent were physically abused, and 9 percent were sexually abused.
Nationwide, an estimated 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect, a decline from the 1,750 children who died from the same in the previous year.
Hitting Kids: American Parenting and Physical Punishment: Perhaps America lost interest because most Americans… http://t.co/BzWRQ2nWsa
— Learn Kids Read (@Learnkidsread) November 6, 2014
Officials said there was an increase in the number of referrals to Child Protective Services for an investigation but that there was a decline in the number of maltreatment cases, a phenomenon they will be probing.
Of the abused children, 25 percent were younger than 1 year old. Another 52 percent were between 1 year old and 5 years old.
The children who were killed by abuse or neglect were also overwhelmingly young, with about half of the fatalities being younger than 1 year old. Boys made up 58 percent of the deaths.
Still lots of work to do in educating the public about parental spanking but at least many folks now recognize school paddlings are inappropriate.
— Dr. George Holden (@DrNoSpank) November 26, 2018
Perpetrators of abuse or neglect are most often in the 25 to 34 age range. More than four-fifths (83.4 percent) of the perpetrators were between 18 and 44 years old. Perpetrators were more likely to be female.
The Epoch Newsroom contributed to this report.