Toddler Dies After Being Left Alone in Crib for 38 Hours As Parents Used Meth: Prosecutors
A two-year-old boy was found dead after he overheated in his crib when his parents left him alone for a day and a half while they used meth, officials said.
On Friday, little Braydon Barnes' mother and father left him in his crib with a space heater, which did not have the ability to automatically turn off when it got too hot, authorities charged.
Lucas Russell Barnes, 25, and Kathleen Peacock, 22, ignored their son for at least 38 hours while they made and used methamphetamine in their St. Charles mobile home, an arrest affidavit filed by prosecutors said.
When they finally returned to their son’s room about 11 a.m. Sunday, it was too late to do anything for the toddler, who could be heard making noise when he was alone, Peacock told police.
The mother, who is currently pregnant, “explained that she heard Braydon make noise from his room and that she knew she should check on Braydon, but she did not,” the affidavit said.
Braydon’s parents were believed to be home the entire time he was left unattended.
Officials said the little boy’s death was caused by “hyperthermia due to the extreme heat in his room which would have caused extreme discomfort and difficulty breathing as he died.”
An autopsy also revealed he was generally malnourished and very thin and hadn’t eaten for at least two days.
The boy had been dead for a while by the time he was discovered, paramedics said.
Barnes and Peacock were charged with felony child abuse and manufacture of methamphetamine in a residence with a child present.
If convicted, they could face 10 to 30 years in prison on each charge.
Their bail has been set at $100,000 each, cash only. They have not entered a plea yet and no attorneys were listed as of Wednesday.
Peacock was already facing a child endangerment charge from August for allegedly driving drunk with Braydon in the car, according to reports.
The couple’s mobile home has been condemned and deemed uninhabitable due to unsanitary conditions, including “feces in places where it shouldn’t be” and “a lot of dishes,” St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar told reporters.
Investigators found the methamphetamine lab used to make the drug in the garbage outside the home.
The little boy’s relatives were left devastated by the loss, writing on a GoFundMe page created to offset funeral expenses that this was an “unforeseen tragic loss.”
“We ache for our child, our grandchild, our friend, our cousin,” a woman who identified herself as Braydon’s grandmother posted on Facebook.
She later said on social media that Barnes was her son, “And I want to kill him.”
Barnes, an avid user of social media, recently posted on Facebook that he was thankful to God “for the blessings you bestowed upon me” including “beautiful children” and a “loving woman.”
That same day he posted a photo of text that read: “Unless you have been strung-out on dope, broke, homeless, in prison and lost every f****** thing you own… don’t talk s*** to me about how bad you have it. F*** you.”
He added: “Been there done almost all of (them) never prison though and here I am today holding my head high thankful for the lessons I learned.”