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 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.
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.”