An 11-year-old Suitland, Maryland, girl has been charged with first-degree child abuse after police said she assaulted a 1-year-old boy left alone in her care and he died from his injuries several days later.
Prince George’s County police identified the boy as Paxton Davis, of Southeast D.C.
Police said the baby had been left last weekend with the girl’s mother, who was a family friend of the baby’s mother. When the girl’s mom went to run an errand the next morning, she left the 11-year-old alone at home with the baby boy, police said.
When other family members returned home, they found the baby unresponsive and called 911. The baby, who was rushed to the hospital, died four days later on Feb. 28.
The girl has admitted to officers that she assaulted the baby, said Brian Reilly, commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department’s criminal investigation division, during a news conference Friday afternoon.
Reilly declined to discuss the specific nature of the baby’s injuries, and would not say if a weapon of some kind was used. But he said, “It was clear from the beginning that the injuries that Paxton suffered were not consistent with normal play of a 1-year-old.”
A police news release said the baby suffered trauma to his upper body.
Authorities are still investigating why the girl assaulted the baby.
“I don’t even have a motive for this,” Reilly said. “There are no words. There’s no reason for this to take place.”
The girl is being charged as a juvenile and has not been identified. She was remanded to a juvenile detention facility following a hearing this week.
Reilly said he’s not aware of another case in which an 11-year-old has faced such serious charges.
“In my time here, I’m not aware of somebody this young being charged with this serious of an offense out of our homicide unit,” he said.
The 911 call for the unresponsive child came into police on the afternoon of Feb. 24 after the adult family members of the girl had returned to the home, Reilly said.
Paramedics took the baby to Children’s National Hospital in D.C.
“When the hospital staff took a look at our 1-year-old victim, they immediately called our child abuse detectives and, due to the severity of the injuries to the 1-year-old, our homicide unit got involved and began to investigate,” Reilly said.
Police are not yet saying how long the girl had been left alone with the baby.
“We’re still continuing to investigate this and we still have a lot of things to track down and look into,” Reilly said. “We think we know about the time frame that the 11-year-old was in sole care and custody of the child, but we’re not going to get into a whole lot of specifics today.”
Reilly declined to say if the girl’s mother who left her alone with the baby would also face charges.
“We are still looking into a lot of different things,” Reilly said. “I can’t say yes; I can’t say no. That’s something that will come up further as we continue to work through this case, but I don’t have a clear answer for you as of right now.
In Maryland, a child must be 13 to legally watch another child alone.