Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that show child abuse has significantly increased during the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-08/study-confirms-rise-in-child-abuse-during-covid-pandemic
Arkansas mother Summer Rose Kazzee was arrested and charged with negligent homicide after her nine-month-old daughter choked on a car seat buckle and died.
This is not the first time the 22 year old has been behind bars. In 2018, she was convicted on a first-degree charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. She had been arrested in 2016 for starving her newborn son. She was sentenced to three years in prison but was paroled.
A probable cause affidavit in the latest case states that authorities responded to calls of an unresponsive child in a Hot Springs home. When police arrived at the scene, Hot Springs Fire Department personnel were performing CPR on the infant, who’s a twin.
She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Kazzee told detectives that she’d put the twins down for a nap at around 3 p.m. When the girl refused to stay in bed, Kazzee put her in the child’s car seat on the floor, according to the affidavit.
She stated that she secured the top and bottom straps of the seat, and the infant began “rocking herself to sleep.” She left the bedroom, closed the door, and went downstairs to the living room.
When she went to check on the children half an hour later, she found her daughter rocking and “even clapping her hands.” She went back to the living room.
However, when she couldn’t hear her daughter anymore thirty minutes later, she “jumped off the couch” and ran to the bedroom.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Kazzee stated that she saw her daughter with the top buckle in her throat. She grabbed the infant and rushed outside, calling for help.
In another interview, she stated that she’d covered the bottom buckle with a blanket so the infant “would not mess with it.” She maintained that her daughter hadn’t unblocked the seat before.
However, detectives questioned the infant’s ability to unbuckle the seat, and that’s when Kazzee revealed that she “may not have buckled it all the way.”
Garland County Circuit Court Judge John Homer Wright issued a gag order on the case, limiting its pretrial publicity.
Kazzee later pleaded guilty in the case, facing only misdemeanor charges for her daughter’s death. She received a seven month jail sentence and was given credit for time served since her arrest.