Video Game Leads to Infant’s Death

A Texas man, aged 20, has been apprehended in relation to the tragic drowning of his 8-month-old daughter in a bathtub last year. The man, Justin Ray Kidwell, was reportedly so absorbed in his video games that he neglected to monitor his child. Kidwell was arrested on Monday in Burkburnett, a town approximately 150 miles northwest of Dallas, and is facing a felony murder charge for the death of his young daughter, as announced by local authorities.

The Burkburnett Police Department issued a press release stating that on May 14, 2023, they received a distress call from a residence on South Avenue B about an unresponsive infant. Emergency medical personnel from the Burkburnett Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, first responders discovered the infant girl had tragically passed away after being removed from the bathtub.

The investigation, conducted by police detectives and Texas Rangers, spanned several months. They eventually concluded that the victim was left unattended in the bathtub with the water running, leading to her drowning. Authorities attributed this heartbreaking incident to Kidwell’s preoccupation with video games, neglecting his daughter in the process.

The investigation included a forensic examination of electronic devices, particularly Kidwell’s computer. The timeline established from this examination revealed that Kidwell, the only adult present at the time, was engrossed in video games while his daughter was left unsupervised.

Based on the timeline, a warrant was issued for Kidwell’s arrest on a felony murder charge. The warrant also recommended a bond of $500,000. On Monday, officers and rangers executed the warrant and took Kidwell into custody.

The police department issued a statement emphasizing the critical importance of parental supervision for the safety and well-being of children. They expressed their condolences to those affected by the tragic event and urged all parents and caregivers to prioritize children’s safety under all circumstances.

This is not Kidwell’s first encounter with the law regarding child endangerment. In December 2022, he pleaded guilty to one count of abandoning or endangering a child as part of a deal with prosecutors. However, a district court judge deferred adjudication of Kidwell’s guilt, allowing him to avoid a conviction if he completed three years of probation.

In the previous case, prosecutors alleged that Kidwell placed a young girl in imminent danger by allowing a controlled substance within the child’s reach. Kidwell also failed to deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider. An affidavit revealed that Kidwell had placed his girlfriend’s child in a car seat in his car within reach of THC edibles, which the child consumed.

Following his daughter’s death last year, the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office filed court documents accusing Kidwell of violating his probation terms. The alleged violations include failing to maintain employment, pay fines, and report to his probation officer.