OCALA, Fla. (AP) – A 10-year-old north Florida boy will remain in custody after appearing in court to face an aggravated manslaughter charge in the death of his young cousin.
Following Thursday’s hearing in Ocala, 2-year-old Journee Blyden’s mother told The Ocala Star-Banner she feels sorry for the boy and blames her daughter’s death on poor supervision and neglect.
Officials say Journee died in June, days after the boy told deputies she fell out of a playpen. But a medical examiner determined the playpen story didn’t add up and ruled the death a homicide.
“Through that autopsy, they told us that the injuries were very, very severe and was not caused by falling out of a playpen, which was the original story given,” Marion County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Lauren Lettelier told WESH.
“That’s why we took so much time on it and made sure that when we brought these charges against this child that we were doing the appropriate thing for the situation.”
The boy later told investigators he fell while holding Journee and accidentally pushed her off a counter.
The girl’s mother says she had left Journee with relatives while seeking a job.
His next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 21.
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