image

Crime

155kg woman sat on little girl as punishment and killed her, Florida authorities say

Obese murder suspect Veronica Posey, 64, sat on her nine-year-old cousin Dericka Lindsay for a prolonged period, despite the 34kg girl crying that she couldn’t breathe, say police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 4:02am

A Florida woman was facing a murder charge after, authorities said, she punished her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on her, causing the child to go into cardiac arrest.

Veronica Posey, 64, told investigators that her niece, Dericka Lindsay, had been misbehaving, so she decided to sit on top of the child as punishment.

Minutes later, Dericka said she couldn’t breathe. She was unconscious by the time Posey stood up, according to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Dericka, who was about one metre tall, weighed 34kg, the report said. Posey weighs 155kg, more than four times the child’s weight.

The incident occurred about 1.30pm Saturday in a home in Pensacola, Florida.

Dericka’s mother, Grace Smith, told investigators that she was having problems with her daughter’s behaviour, so she called Posey, her niece, to help discipline the child. It was unclear from the arrest report, which had several redacted portions, how long Posey sat on the child.

But according to the Pensacola News Journal, Dericka ran toward an armchair after Posey struck her with a ruler and a metal pipe. Her father, James Smith, 62, told officers that Posey sat on her in the armchair for 10 minutes before the child said she couldn’t breathe. But Posey didn’t immediately stand up after Dericka complained – and sat on her for two more minutes.

Posey told investigators that she called 911 and performed CPR after she stood up and realised that her cousin was unconscious.

The arrest report does not say whether Dericka’s parents tried to help her. She was taken to a hospital, where she died less than an hour later.

Posey has been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated abuse. The child’s parents, who were home when the incident occurred, have each been charged with child neglect. It’s unclear whether they have attorneys, but online jail records say they are scheduled to appear in court on November 3.

The child’s family had previous interactions with Florida’s child welfare system, Mike Carroll, secretary of the state’s Department of Children and Families, said in a statement. It’s unclear, however, what the nature of those interactions were. Florida law prohibits the agency from releasing any information about investigations involving children. Records, however, become public once investigators determine that a child’s death is the result of abuse or neglect.

Carroll called Dericka’s death “appalling” and promised a thorough review of the family’s previous interactions with the agency.