A Texas father who left his two young children in a car while he went shopping is facing child abandonment charges after his 6-year-old daughter allegedly strangled her 1-year-old brother with a seatbelt.
Adrian Deshaun Middleton, 26, brought his daughter and son along with him as he went shopping at the Family Thrift Store in Houston May 21, according to court documents.
He told police that he left the air conditioner running, put on a movie and gave the kids water and Cheetos while he went to go buy clothes.
The 6-year-old said that while their father was gone, her baby brother started crying, and so she began playing with him. When she stopped, his tears started flowing again, and this time, she said, she grew “angry.”
The girl told police that to stop him from crying, she wrapped the seatbelt around his neck, and when he grew quiet, she thought he was just sleeping, according to the documents.
Middleton said he left the store after 30-45 minutes and noticed his daughter was crying. When confronted, she said she had to go the bathroom and that she’d done “something bad.”
The father then found his son unresponsive with a seatbelt around his neck, and tried to perform CPR until paramedics arrived.
The child later died at Texas Children’s Hospital, and an autopsy ruled his death a homicide by strangulation.
Middleton initially told police that he left his children in car seats and “peeked out of the store window” to check on them as he shopped, but later admitted that the children were not in car seats, and surveillance footage showed he stayed about an hour longer in the store than he’d previously claimed.
He was charged with abandoning a child under 15.