Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Boy, 12, Charged With Killing Toddler

Stephany Cunningham with Aniyah. Facebook photo.

A 12-year-old Maryland boy is charged with 2nd-degree murder for the death of his two-year-old foster sister.  The victim, Aniyah Batchelor, had been in foster care for over six months, her mother told the Washington Post.  According to Prince George’s County authorities, the accused boy is a biological son of the family who took in Aniyah.  The family has two other children, aged 15, and 4.  At the time of the alleged Tuesday night killing, the 15-year-old sister was supposed to be watching the kids while the parents were out.

Police say the 12-year-old beat Aniyah to death with his hands.  According to Spokeswoman Julie Parker of the Prince George’s County, Md., police, the father came home to find her unconscious and called 911; she was pronounced dead at the hospital.  An autopsy confirmed the cause of death was blunt force trauma.  Because the boy, who is currently in custody at the Cheltenham Youth Facility, is charged as a juvenile, his name is not being released. A charge of 2nd-degree murder means prosecutors are not alleging that the killing was premeditated.

Aniyah’s biological mother, Stephany Cunningham, has two other children.  She lost custody of Aniyah and another daughter in November after her son, who was living with a relative, was brought over for a visit.  Cunningham told the Washington Post that someone put the boy in a bathtub full of scalding water, causing severe burns. After this incident, Cunningham’s two daughters were taken into the custory of the state.

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