READING, Ohio – A 14-year-old boy accused of smothering his baby sister with a pillow said he heard voices in his head telling him to do it, according to Reading police.
The boy has a psychiatric disorder, police said Wednesday. He has been charged with murder and felonious assault.
The mother found the 2-month-old girl unresponsive on a bed on June 25 and called 911, according to the police report.
Officers didn't arrest the boy until July 12; 17 days later.
Neighbors are shocked and wondering why this happened.
"If this child does have mental issues and he's lived two doors down from me, that's a scary thought," said Kori Wetherald, who has lived for several years in the 100 block of E. Vine St. "And if he doesn't, I don't know how this has all come about and why this is under investigation.
"I really hope that it gets straightened out for their sake."
A new investigation has been launched by Hamilton County Job and Family Services. They are wondering why they didn't have this teen or his family on their radar. JFS could have contracted with other agencies for mental health services, spokesperson Brian Gregg said.
A forensic psychologist, Dr. Stuart Bassman, told WCPO that mental illness is a silent killer, like a stroke. You have to monitor the situation carefully to prevent bigger problems.
Wetherald said she was home the night the baby died and called it "a very horrible situation."
"I can't even imagine what they're going through right now," Wetherald said Wednesday after the teen was charged.
According to the police report, the father told police that his wife put the baby down for a nap in their bedroom after dinner, then the parents took their other children outside to play.
Just after 9 p.m., the mother went to the bedroom to check on the baby. When she came out holding her, the mother was frantic and saying the baby was not breathing.
The mother was performing CPR when police arrived at the home. An officer continued CPR until paramedics arrived.
"I stood out here a little bit and they came out with the baby on a board with ventilators and tubes and that was heartbreaking," Wetherald said. "I'm a mom and it pulled at my heartstrings.
"I had tears streaming down my face. I felt so sorry for their family."
A note taped to the family's front door says: "No Comment. No Trespassing. Thanks."
If you need mental health services, contact:
> Department of Jobs & Family Services: 513-241-KIDS
> Cincinnati Children's Hospital (513-636-4200)