Police in Birmingham, Ala. have charged an 8-year-old boy with murder in the beating death of a 17-month-old baby girl after their mothers left the young children at home, unsupervised, to party at a nightclub.
The toddler child, Kelci Lewis, was found dead in her crib on Oct. 12. Police say the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head and damage to her internal organs. The unidentified 8-year-old, the oldest of six children, had been left in charge of the baby. When she would not stop crying, the young child began to beat her.
Kelci’s mother, 26-year-old Katerra Lewis, has been charged with manslaughter. She was released on a $15,000 bond. The mother of the 8-year-old child has not been charged. AL.com reports:
“This is one of the most heartbreaking investigations that I have seen in over 30 years of my law enforcement career,” said Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper.
“There are just too many deep rooted issues in this horrific crime. It’s extremely troubling from so many different angles and there are no law enforcement answers to prevent it. We’ve been concerned about the kids and the future effect on their lives. The bottom line is an innocent young baby lost her life and that should be a wake-up call for our community,” Roper said.
According to a report from AL.com, Lewis and baby Kelci were staying at the friend’s home temporarily while they waited for their Section 8 housing. Kelci was left in the house with five other children between the ages of two and eight. The 8-year-old, after beating Kelci, placed her back in the crib. Lewis and her friend did not return to the house until 2 a.m. It wasn’t until 10:45 a.m. that Lewis noticed the baby was injured. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, but pronounced dead just minutes later.
A 6-year-old left in the care of the child who killed Kelci gave an account of the incident that matched with the baby’s injuries, Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards said.