Police: Two-year-old found dead with facial, chest burns in Marion

The scene where a two-year-old girl was found dead with burns on her face and torso.
The scene where a two-year-old girl was found dead with burns on her face and torso.

MARION, Ind. (WANE) – Marion police are investigating the death of a two-year-old girl who was found with burns on her face and front and back of her torso.

Police said they arrived at 1515 South Miller Avenue in Marion around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday. They found the toddler unresponsive on the living room floor.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, two-year-old Arianna Carmack and two other children had been left with the mother’s boyfriend, who had been living at the home for the past couple of months.

“[The mother] started to go check on the child, and [Riddle] told her he had already done that, and that the child was okay,” said Cliff Sessoms, a deputy chief with the Marion Police Department.  “She goes back a little bit later, right before the 911 call was made, and the mother finds the child unresponsive.  At that point, we believe she runs to the neighbor’s house, where the call was made.”

It was the neighbor who talked to dispatchers during the 911 call.

“[The dispatcher] said, do you know how to do CPR?,” the neighbor said.  “I said no.  He said let me walk you through it. I said, there’s no walking me through anything, she’s already gone. She’s been gone for a while.”

Donald Riddle. Photo courtesy: Grant County Sheriff's Department
Donald Riddle. Photo courtesy: Grant County Sheriff’s Department

Police arrested Donald Riddle, 27, Marion, at another home in Sweetser at 5:45 a.m. Thursday.  Riddle has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

He remains in the Grant County Jail.

Riddle is the boyfriend of the Carmack’s mother.  He was supposed to be watching over the children while their mother was working.  Sessoms said he believed Riddle had watched the children before Wednesday.

“There are obvious injuries on the child. It appears she could have been scalded by some type of liquid,” Sessoms said.

“We’re human just like everybody else,” Sessoms said.  “We have children just like everyone else. Obviously the first thing that runs through our minds is this could be my child.”

The Associated Press reported an autopsy found the burns to be non-life threatening but a contributing factor in her death. The autopsy, conducted by the Grant County Coroner, found the girl had multiple bruises on her legs that were healing.

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