A 10-year-old girl has been charged with manslaughter over the death of a baby whose mother said had swallowed medication and been suffocated.
The girl, who is not being named, is the youngest person to be charged with manslaughter in the New England state of Maine in at least 25 years.
The baby, Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, of Clinton in central Maine, had been left overnight with an adult babysitter in nearby Fairfield. The sitter called police early on July 8 to report that the infant was not breathing, authorities said. Emergency crews who arrived minutes later reported that child was unresponsive.
The death of any child under three triggers an automatic investigation in Maine and detectives uncovered some "troubling signs" before the state medical examiner declared the death a homicide, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The death was declared a homicide on Wednesday, but investigators withheld further details on the cause of death.
Brooklyn's mother, Nicole "Nicki" Greenaway, said the 10-year-old was the sitter's daughter. Authorities told her the baby had ingested medication to treat attention-deficit disorder and been suffocated, she said, adding that she also saw bruises on her daughter's body.
"I feel a little bit of relief that they're charging her daughter at this point, but the mom really needs to be responsible. She's the one I left my daughter with," Ms Greenaway said.
The 10-year-old girl was already in the custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services when a summons was delivered to her lawyer yesterday, Mr McCausland said.
Police declined to identify the girl, who is due in juvenile court in October.
The charge against the 10-year-old was filed after detectives consulted with the attorney general's office, which determined manslaughter was most appropriate, said Brenda Kielty, a spokeswoman. Unlike murder, which generally involves an intentional act, manslaughter charges are brought when a homicide is caused by reckless actions or criminal negligence.