Florida Girl Dies After Adult Relative Allegedly Sits on Her as Punishment: She Was 'Unable to Breathe'

Dericka LIndsey's cousin allegedly suffocated her by sitting on her as a punishment

Photo: Escambia County Jail

A Florida girl died on Saturday afternoon after her adult cousin allegedly sat on her to punish her for misbehaving.

Veronica Green Posey, 64, has been charged with cruelty towards and child and homicide in the death of her 9-year-old cousin, Dericka Lindsay, according to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff.

Posey — who weighs 325 pounds — sat on the girl for being “out of control,” the report alleges. Posey told police that she stood up and realized that Dericka was unresponsive. She started CPR and called 911.

Two other family members have been arrested and charged with child neglect for allegedly failing to report the abuse, PEOPLE confirms. Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith, 62 — who are listed as the girl’s parents — allegedly called Posey to her house to help her discipline Dericka. According to Grace Smith’s arrest report, Posey allegedly hit Dericka with a ruler and a metal pipe during the altercation.

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In James Smith’s arrest report, he told police that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka in an armchair for “about 10 minutes.” Dericka “complained of being unable to breathe,” the report states. James Smith told deputies that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka for an additional two minutes before standing up.

Posey has been released from jail on $125,000 bond. Grace Smith was released on $75,000 bond. None of the three suspects have entered a plea, and court records do not list attorneys for any of them. They did not immediately return PEOPLE’s calls for comment. James Smith is still being held on $50,000 bond. He is still in jail.

Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that the state’s child welfare system is familiar with the family — and vows to conduct an inquiry.

“Dericka’s death is appalling and DCF will continue coordinating with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her death accountable,” Carroll said in the statement. “As the family has a prior interaction with the child welfare system, a thorough quality assurance review will be conducted to review all prior interactions this family has had with the child welfare system.”

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