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An eight-year-old boy from Alabama is being charged with murder over the alleged beating death of a toddler girl left in his care.
Reports said the mother of Kelci Devine Lewis, who turned one in May, has been charged with manslaughter. Police said the mother, Katerra Lewis, 26, left her young daughter in the care of a group of children while she partied at a nightclub. The eight-year-old boy, the child of a neighbour, allegedly killed the toddler when she would not stop crying.
“This is one of the most heart breaking investigations that I have seen in over 30 years of my law enforcement career,” said Birmingham police Chief AC Roper, according to AL.com.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Kelci was found unresponsive in her crib at a property in Birmingham on October 12.
Authorities have said there were visible injuries to the girl. She died from blunt force trauma to the head, and internal injuries, Birmingham police spokesman Lt Sean Edwards said.
Mr Edwards said Kelci was left alone that night in the home with five other children, aged two, four, six, seven and eight.
“It is believed that while the mother and friend were at the club, the eight-year-old viciously attacked the one-year-old because the one-year-old would not stop crying,” Mr Edwards said.
“The one-year-old suffered from severe head trauma as well as major internal organ damage with ultimately led to her death.”