The headline read, “Mother and boyfriend charged after baby dies from burns suffered inside an oven.” It looks like something you would see standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, but this is the headline of a sad, true story reported by a Houston, TX television station in November 2015. Here are the details: a 25 year old mother of a 5 year old, twin 3 year olds, and a 19 month old little girl left the children alone for a couple of hours in order to get pizza with her boyfriend and visit his brother. They put the children to bed before they left but when they returned the three older children were sitting in the floor crying and pointed to the kitchen. When the boyfriend went into the kitchen he found the range turned over on the floor. When he picked it up the door opened and the baby fell out on the floor dead from burns received while inside the oven. The children said that they had turned it “all the way up.”
The couple is charged with four counts of child endangerment! Pardon me while I get up on my soapbox – really? These two “adults” should be charged with negligent homicide which is defined as the “criminal offense committed by one whose negligence is the direct and proximate cause of another’s death.” This baby is dead because of the neglect and abandonment of these children by their mother and her live-in boyfriend. She made the choices that helped bring this precious little girl into the world and she was responsible for her care and safety. She negligently made the choice to leave four children under the age of six home alone and her negligence was the direct and proximate cause of this child’s death. Hollywood might make a funny movie about a child left home alone but this story has a tragic ending as do so many others.
Children are often the innocent victims of the bad choices of adults who neglect, abandon, and frequently abuse them. Every day in America four to seven children die as the result of neglect or abuse. New Pathways for Children works to rescue children out of dangerous and harmful situations to give them a safe, secure place to live where their needs are met and they receive around the clock supervision. Your support helps us provide food, clothing, a bed, trained staff to supervise children, and vehicles to transport them to church. Sadly, we can’t rescue every child but together we are making a difference to those we serve.