Toddler Left in Crib for 16 Hours Dies, Parents Charged

A young couple in Arizona, both 25 years old, have been apprehended by law enforcement following the tragic death of their one-year-old son. The parents, Braydon Jesus Pena and Shania Darlene Harris, are facing charges of child abuse and negligence after allegedly leaving their toddler unattended in his crib for over 16 hours.

The investigation was initiated when Harris dialed 911 on March 24, reporting that her son was not breathing. According to local news outlet KPNX, police records indicate that Pena declined to perform lifesaving measures on the child while on the call with the emergency dispatcher. The dispatcher also noted that Harris was extremely distressed, while Pena repeatedly mentioned that the child felt cold.

Upon their arrival, first responders found the child in a playpen in the parents’ bedroom. The child exhibited signs of bluish-purple discoloration and rigor mortis, suggesting that he had been deceased for several hours. The police report, as cited by KPNX, stated that the rigor mortis and lividity were inconsistent with the child’s position when the officers arrived.

The living conditions of the child were also brought into question. The police report described the apartment as being in a state of disarray and uncleanliness. It was apparent that the child had not been bathed for a significant period, with visible scabbing on his face, chin, and leg.

During the police interview, Pena revealed that his son had been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder characterized by fluid accumulation in the brain, at birth. However, Pena stated that the child was not on any medication for the condition and had not shown any concerning symptoms before his death.

The couple reportedly told investigators that they had put their son to bed between 10:30 p.m. on March 23 and 2 a.m. on March 24. They admitted to not checking on him until they called 911 around 6:30 p.m. on March 24. The couple also confessed to leaving the child alone the following morning while they went out for breakfast, after which they returned home, ate, and went back to sleep until they discovered the child unresponsive.

The couple also admitted to not having a baby monitor or camera in their home. During the police interview, Harris reportedly advised Pena to seek legal counsel and not to disclose any further information.

Currently, both Harris and Pena are being held at the Maricopa County Jail with a bond set at $100,000. They are scheduled to appear in court on April 3.