Some things leave me speechless. This is one of those things. Where do I begin? An 8-year old little boy, the oldest of the gaggle of small children, tried to silence a crying 1-year old baby girl. Instead of soothing her, he launched a violent attack, causing severe head trauma and damage to her internal organs. These injuries led to her death. The boy consequently was charged with murder. The little girl’s mother may also face charges, because the police suggest “she was reckless or negligent” for leaving the children in the care of the boy.
The child’s mother left the 8-year old in charge (evidently her roommate’s son), I guess you can say he was a pseudo-babysitter, tasked with looking after the little girl and her four siblings – I say pseudo because a child that young isn’t old enough for that responsibility. Although there is not firm legal statute on the appropriate age for a babysitter in Kentucky, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recommends parents not leave children home alone under the age of 16. This kid was half of that. Where was the mother of these children, you ask? She went out to a club for the evening. One of the things that makes this so egregious is the mother didn’t even look in on her kids to check on them when she got home at 2 am. She apparently went straight to bed, and it wasn’t until around 10 o’clock the next morning when she called authorities after finding her daughter unresponsive.
I certainly cannot fault the woman for going out to have some fun. The challenges young children can bring are often daunting, and she had five of them, all age six and under. Getting in some down time to relax and unwind isn’t unreasonable at all. But, leaving them in the care of an 8-year old was unwise. I’ll admit my own parents left me home alone on a few occasions when I was around the age of eight, sometimes it was at night while they went out socially. But it was just me, without the responsibility of caring for younger kids.
This story got me to wondering if eight is the youngest age of a murder suspect. A little research uncovered someone even younger. The youngest, as best I can determine, was six years old. Carl Newton Mahan in Kentucky killed his friend – with malice – on May 18, 1929, over a dispute about some scrap metal they were selling to earn extra money. When I was six, all I was thinking about doing was eating and playing with my G.I. Joe. But this kid had other plans.
Regardless of age, the deliberate and willful killing of another is a very tragic, heart-wrenching situation. I know it can be hard dealing with a crying baby, incessantly going on non-stop. That’s hard enough for many adults to handle. I can only imagine how aggravating it may be to an 8-year old, whose coping skills are still developing. I’m not generally in favor of publicly shaming people for making mistakes such as this. But awareness is key. Maybe other mothers can learn from this and possible make different choices that could keep their own children safe. By all means to out and have some fun. But for crying out loud people, get someone mature and responsible to watch your kids, or stay your behind at home.