Florida Woman and Partner Charged with Murder for Leaving Daughter Home Alone for 8 Hours, Causing Her to Die

by Xara Aziz
Gainesville Police Department

A Florida couple has been arrested and charged with murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect after leaving their twin toddlers at home alone for eight hours, causing one of them to die.

The Gainesville Police Department says officers were dispatched to 22-year-old Donrea McLaughlin and 26-year-old Sean Lee II’s home when they discovered that one of the toddlers was unresponsive. After being rushed to the hospital, the 3-year-old girl was pronounced dead.

Police further stated that the mother had fallen asleep and was awoken by her boyfriend who informed her that their daughter was not breathing.

After an investigation, detectives found that the couple had gone to work that day and left the twins alone. No one had come to check in on the twins during the eight-hour period the couple was gone.

Of the two children, the surviving child was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

Police also found the couple had been the subject of abuse and neglect in the past, leading to the death of their daughter and injuries sustained by the other.

The suspects ended up leaving Gainesville and headed to Atlanta, where a warrant was issued for their arrest.

It took a team of officers, deputies and U.S. Marshals, who coordinated the couple’s arrest, to have them apprehended. They will be brought back to Florida to face charges of murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect, authorities confirmed.

Both suspects are being held on a $4.5 million bond.

According to a CDC report, “Child abuse and neglect are common. At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States. This is likely an underestimate because many cases are unreported. In 2020, 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.

The report continues: “Children living in poverty experience more abuse and neglect. Experiencing poverty can place a lot of stress on families, which may increase the risk for child abuse and neglect. Rates of child abuse and neglect are 5 times higher for children in families with low socioeconomic status.”

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