A 19-month-old toddler died of severe burn injuries this week in Houston, Texas, after two siblings placed her in an oven and turned it on, court documents show. According to authorities, the three children, along with a fourth, had been left unsupervised at home by their parents.
The Associated Press reported November 20 that Houston police believe that J’Zyra Thompson was left in a Houston apartment Monday by her mother, Racquel Thompson — and the woman’s boyfriend, both of whom left to go to Domino’s Pizza — with three of her siblings. Left without supervision, 19-month-old J’Zyra was placed inside of an oven by one of two 3-year-olds. The second 3-year-old then turned on the oven. The child’s mother attempted to resuscitate the toddler upon her return to the home, but to no avail. The child had already succumbed to multiple burns.
According to court documents obtained by KTRK-TV in Houston, the two 3-year-olds admitted to investigators from Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) that they and the toddler were playing with the oven. One of them put the toddler in the oven while the other one turned it on. It was then that the horrifying details of the child’s last moments were revealed. According to the 3-year-olds, they made the oven “hot” and even witnessed their little sister kicking at the oven door after being shut inside.
According to The Independent, emergency services were notified. However, the child was dead by the time police arrived on the scene.
Court documents also indicated that even though the children’s grandmother, Gina Dennis, lived in the same apartment complex, she was not notified of Thompson’s and her boyfriend’s absence. Dennis told KHOU in Houston that she was dealing with a “whirlwind of emotions” and that she was “confused” as to how her grandbaby was burned to death.
CPS investigators said it was not uncommon for the adults to leave the children, the oldest of which was five, unsupervised and that the agency had prior dealings with the mother. Officials said that no charges had as yet been filed against the two adults, who were away from the home on errands to not only Domino’s Pizza but to a nearby Walgreen’s store, but the agency expected charges to be forthcoming.
CPS, which declined comment on J’Zyra Thompson’s death specifically because the case had been sealed by a judge, also took the three children out of the Thompson household and placed them in foster care. Racquel Thompson, who is said to also drive with the children unrestrained and without car seats, has another child, a son, who lives with his father. And she is 7 months pregnant with the current boyfriend’s baby.