WASHINGTON – A juvenile court found a 14-year-old Silver Spring boy was found “involved” in the death of his infant sister — the equivalent of being found guilty.
The boy was tried on a charge of involuntary manslaughter and one charge of neglect.
The teen was originally charged as an adult in the death of 7-month-old Larissa Yanes in February. At the time, prosecutors said the boy was babysitting overnight and had put his hands over the infant’s nose and mouth in an effort to quiet her in their Silver Spring apartment.
When the children’s mother, Gloria Yanes, returned from work the next morning, she found the baby still strapped into an infant seat. Believing the baby was sleeping, she didn’t discover the baby was unresponsive until about a half hour later, when she called 911.
Defense attorney Mary Sigfried, with the Office of the Public Defender, says for juveniles, the goal isn’t punishment but rehabilitation. In this case, she says, the goal would be treating the teenager.
When asked if the mother might be charged in connection with the case, Sigfried said no and added, “Sadly.” She declined to elaborate.
In Montgomery County, it is illegal to leave children under the age of 12 in charge of other children, and it is illegal to leave children under the age of 8 unattended for any reason.
When the teen was first charged as an adult, court records indicated he had frequently been left to care for his baby sisters, one a toddler, and Larissa, the infant.
“He’s a good boy, I know he was doing so good in school,” says Lydia Guillen, a friend of the family.
As to Yanes’ leaving the boy alone to care for the other children, Guillen explained Yanes was on the overnight cleaning staff of a local business.
“She had to go to work,” Guillen says and could not afford a babysitter.
The teen will be held in a juvenile facility until he can be placed in a treatment facility.