Father charged after girl, 6, 'strangles baby brother to death with seatbelt'


A Texas father was charged on Monday with child abandonment six months after police say his 6-year-old daughter strangled her 1-year-old brother to death in the back seat of the vehicle while he was thrift shopping, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Middleton told officers he provided his children with snacks and water, and left on the air conditioning and a movie while he visited the store.

Surveillance footage shows Middleton was in the store for around an hour and a half.

Middleton's 6-year-old daughter told investigators that her younger brother was crying and that she began playing with him to stop the crying, but when she stopped playing with him, he started crying again. The child told investigators that she was playing with her brother and got angry when he wouldn't stop crying. She allegedly said she thought he had fallen asleep. Middleton "did not voluntarily deliver the Complainant to a designated emergency infant care provider" before abandoning the infant. The girl told her father that she had to use the bathroom and that she did something bad. Court documents state the father claimed the children were strapped in their seats, but he later admitted in a second interview there were no auto seats for either child in the vehicle. That's when Middleton saw his son with the seatbelt wrapped around his neck and called 911, according to court records.

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The incident occurred when Middleton was inside the second venue, Thrift Family Store. He turned himself in on Monday afternoon. His son was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, The Chronicle reported.

The girl will not face charges due to her age, Houston police said according to ABC13.

According to the medical examiner, the baby's death was ruled homicide by strangulation.