HOUSTON, Texas – A toddler died after she was burned to death in an oven when the children’s mother and her boyfriend left four children under the age of five unattended. A three-year-old sibling allegedly turned on the oven after the 19-month old toddler climbed into the oven. Child Protective Services (CPS) now has custody of the three surviving children.
According to officials, the mother of the children, Racqual Lanae Thompson, and her boyfriend, Cornell Malone, left the toddler and her three young siblings alone when they went out to eat pizza and went to a Walgreens store. The ages of the children are nineteen months, three, three, and five.
Officials say that Thompson told them that the children were sleeping when she and her boyfriend left the apartment.
The mother and her boyfriend returned to the residence to find that the oven had fallen over and there was a burning smell in the home.
When Mr. Malone picked up the oven, little J’Zyrah Thompson fell out of the oven. The oven was on the hottest setting and the child had been severely burned. The toddler was not taken to a hospital because she was declared dead at the scene.
Neighbors told the media that the mother regularly leaves the children alone in the home.
Officials told Breitbart Texas that Thompson and Malone both admitted they left the young children home alone the evening of J’Zyrah’s death.
Thompson also allegedly admitted that she has left the children at home on numerous occasions to take Malone to and from work at a Domino’s Pizza restaurant.
The five-year-old allegedly told authorities that the toddler climbed up into the oven but that one of the three-year-olds turned the oven on.
CPS requested emergency temporary conservatorship of the three children on this basis, as well as an alleged past drug use by the mother, and past domestic violence that resulted in CPS becoming involved with the family. The agency also cited the mother’s driving without a driver’s license and transporting the children without car seats.
The agency says the father of little J’Zyrah Thompson is unknown.
Fredrick Price told the media that he is the father of two of the children in the home. Price showed up at the apartment complex looking for his children and reportedly had no idea they had been left alone. He was reported to have said, “She was a cute little baby, I just didn’t know if that was my daughter or not.” Price has reportedly not taken any paternity tests.
Thompson is 31 weeks pregnant with Mr. Malone’s child.
A grandmother of the children who lives in the same apartment complex said she would have watched the children if the couple had asked. The grandmother, Gina Dennis, told KHOU in Houston that she had a “whirlwind of emotions” and was “confused” about the horrible incident.
The Houston Police Department’s homicide division is in charge of the investigation. An autopsy will be conducted by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that no charges have been filed.
CPS officials anticipate that charges will be eventually filed. An official with the agency told Breibart Texas that a hearing in the CPS case is anticipated in early December.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2