By: Elena Grace Flores
Kathleen Marie Steele, is charged with aggravated manslaughter of her infant child when her 6 year old son deliberately killed her unknowingly while trying to stop her crying by punching a doll on her head, tossing her away up to the minivan’s ceiling and down in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Their 62-year-old mother left her young children – the infant, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old by themselves in a car for more than 30 minutes while she had her cellphone fixed, Florida’s Gulf Coast authorities said.
“He was tossing that baby around like a rag doll,” the sheriff said during a press conference.“The mistake is with the mother, Kathleen Steele, not with the 6-year-old boy,” Sheriff Bob Gulatieri said. The boy won’t face criminal charges and Steele said that she understood the charges. Her two sons are now in a therapeutic foster care. Her attorney Robert Love will not contest the state’s order for Steele to have no contact with children 18 or younger as per his client’s wishes.
Gulatieri described Steele as an ill equipped single mother who is overwhelmed in taking care of her three young children. Understanding Kathleen Steele, he went on narrating that her husband died of cancer in 2011 and she paid a fortune getting artificially inseminated with his frozen sperm to conceive her 3-year-old son and the newborn daughter that is now dead. She was named Kathleen as well. It was obvious that she was struggling to raise the children on her own but she still wants more children. This is a sign that she is not well after all.
The boys had history of being apprehended after neighbors complained that they were unsupervised. A previous accident was also reported when the baby suffered minor brain bleed when they were staying at a hotel after she filed bankruptcy and a fire broke out in their temporary home.
The van’s ceiling was covered in blood and her elder son tried to tell her something was wrong with the baby, but she disregarded him and stopped at a rental car company before heading home – and then she noticed the baby’s injuries. Instead of calling 9111, she called a neighbor who is a nurse who perceived that the baby was dead, but still performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Gulatieri can see that the 6-year-old is bright and mature for his age. He even reminded his mother to renew their rental car lease. “The things that he said and his awareness level and how astute that he is, it’s amazing really. By hearing him talk you’d never think the kid was six,” Gulatieri said. But obviously, the boy also had aggression issues as witnessed by neighbors. “By numerous witness accounts, Kathleen Steele was an inattentive parent and (the boys) were largely unsupervised and had very serious behavior issues,” the sheriff said. When the 6 year old was asked if he knew he killed his sister, he replied; “sometimes people make really bad mistakes.”
Steele and her husband in the past had appeared on an episode of the reality TV episode titled “I’m Pregnant and 55 Years Old.” His death obviously lead to her depression and the idea of having more children is giving her the motivation to keep on going – although her relatives thought that it was wrong because she can’t take care of them but they can’t do anything about it. The government’s child care protection is really a good option for this kind of cases but what about in countries where quality public services such as this are not available to troubled citizens?