Boyfriend of mother of 2-year-old Marion girl found dead, badly burned arrested on neglect charge

Police: Girl suffered scalding burns

MARION, Ind. - The boyfriend of the mother of a 2-year-old girl who was found dead and badly burned in Marion has been arrested in the girl's death.

Officers were called to a mobile home in the Maplewood Village Community just before 10 p.m. Wednesday on a report of an unresponsive child.

The 2-year-old was found lying on the living room floor with what appeared to be scalding burns to her face and the front and back of her torso, police said.

A neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, said she frequently babysat the the girl. The neighbor said the girl's mother came pounding on her door Wednesday night.

"(I) opened the door, she said, 'She's not breathing, she's not breathing, help me,'" the neighbor said.

The neighbor and the child's mother called 911, and dispatchers offered to talk the neighbor through CPR.

"(I) said, 'CPR ain't going to help this baby, she's gone. She's been gone for awhile,'" the neighbor told RTV6.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

"It appears that she could potentially have been scalded by some type of liquid," said Deputy Chief Cliff Sessoms, with Marion police. "At this time we don't know what that liquid is. We don't know the circumstances around how that may have happened."

Police said the 2-year-old and two other children had been left with the mother's boyfriend, Donald W. Riddle, 27, who had been living at the home for the past few months.

Riddle was not at the home when police arrived. He was later found at a friend's home just before 6 a.m. Thursday, police said.

Riddle was arrested on a preliminary charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

"He's indicating that the child was OK basically when he put her in the bed, and that's pretty much what his stance is right now," Sessoms said.

Investigators said Riddle has a criminal history that includes habitual traffic violations, probation for theft charges, and previous charges of battery of a police officer and resisting law enforcement.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

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