Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Charging a 5-year old?

Last week, a tragedy occurred in Kansas City...an 18-month old little boy drowned in the bath-tub.  As police looked into the situation, they found out that the tragedy was worse than it appeared to be...the 18-month old was actually drowned in the tub by a 5-year old, while a 16-year old babysitter slept through the whole thing.  This story, about how the police were investing the act as a crime, and possibly looking into charging the 5-year, fired me right up. 

I guess, from further research, there is no minimum age for 'legal responsibility' in Missouri, so there is nothing saying that the state CAN'T file criminal murder charges against a 5-year old...but, in this case, my initial thought was the person guilty here was the 16-year old who slept through this happening. 

A little research, and reading more than one take on the story, has changed my mind yet again.  This story provides a little more detail, and changes who the blame belongs to.  According to the newest story, the two children were left home with a teenager who was mentally handicapped. 

Mentally handicapped can have a wide range of application...but, of course, I picture the worst...like someone with Down's Syndrome( no offense to folks with Down's...but it is the image that comes into my mind when the media uses a term like 'mentally handicapped'). 

IF someone left an 18-month old and a 5-year old home alone with someone that has any REAL degree of mental retardation(once again, not a PC term, sorry) then THAT someone is the guilty party. 

After all that offending, and backing and filling, it's obvious that the 5-year old will need some help.  If 'pressing charges' is what it takes to get her some help...well, so be it.  I am the first one to jump up and say 'punish the guilty, punish them NOW, and punish them harshly'...but...a 5-year old, while she can commit a crime, can not be 'mentally guilty'.  I would like to think my own 5-year old would not do this...but I can see a 5-year old thinking 'This kid is making noise, and I know holding him under water will make him stop' but not realizing that the 18-month old will never make noise again. 

Another 'sad all around' thing. 


  1. I've been discussing this with some other moms. We're all having a bit of a hard time accepting it as written. I realize kids can be very, very different in their temperaments, but when Marie cries Esther will cuddle with her and pet her to try to calm her. Rie is already the size of a year-old baby, too, and Esther can't really carry her, though she can pick her up. Others with bigger 5-year-olds have said their kids can carry toddler siblings, but no one seems to think the older could successfully get the younger into the tub, which makes me think that if the child had any involvement at all in the toddler's death, it was a horrific accident more along the lines of the toddler being dropped accidentally rather than being held under, KWIM? And it would never occur to Esther to take her sister for a bath, either. That this 5-year-old did think of it makes me wonder how much responsibility she normally has for her sibling. I cannot imagine the hell that poor little one is going through right now.

  2. BUT...no where in any of the articles that I have seen does it say that the two children were siblings...just that they were being watched by the same teenager.

    I tend to agree with you...the age gap in my kids is about the same as what happened here...I can't see my older daughter doing this to her younger sister...BUT...if they weren't siblings, and the 5-year old was an only child who hadn't learned how to act around younger kids...

    Things get more possible.