56.5 year sentence handed down in toddler death case

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

MARION, Ind. (WANE)  A Fairmount, Indiana man convicted in April on various charges connected to the death of a toddler who was under his care has been sentenced to 56 and a half years in prison.

Donald Riddle learned his sentence Monday morning.

Donald Riddle was found guilty on felony charges of Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death, Possession of Scheduled Controlled Substances and Possession of Marijuana.

Two-year-old Arianna Carmack was found dead in her crib, covered in burns, on February 13, 2014.

Arianna’s mother is also facing charges. Wanetta Lloyd faces charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, maintaining a common nuisance and dealing marijuana, all of which are felonies. Her trial is schedule to start in September.

Death of Two-year-old Arianna Carmack

According to documents NewsChannel 15 previously received, Lloyd told police that Riddle, a friend of hers, lived with her at the Maplewood Village mobile home park in Marion and was the caregiver for her four children when she was at work.

Lloyd told investigators that she arrived home from work at about 2 a.m. on February 13, changed her clothes and then left the home and didn’t return until about 5:30 a.m.

The details of a court transcript further indicate that Lloyd  then went to bed and didn’t get up until early afternoon.  Lloyd then left again to meet her “lover” and then returned home to eat dinner.  She then took a shower with the intention of going to see the “lover” again.  It wasn’t until after 9 p.m. that Lloyd went to check on Arianna.  She told investigators that Riddle had assured her several times that the little girl was sleeping.

Lloyd told Riddle to call 911 after seeing Arianna’s condition.  Riddle held a phone to his ear as if we was calling, however phone records indicate he never did.

Lloyd went to a neighbor’s home for help and a boyfriend there called 911.

Riddle fled shortly after being asked to call 911 and was later captured in Sweetster, Indiana.

Riddle told investigators that during this whole time he never checked on Arianna.

Investigators believe her shirt had caught fire and caused flash burns and for some reason the shirt was not taken off.  She might have lived if that had not been the case according to medical experts.

The experts also testified that Arianna would have been in great pain and would have also been in great distress.

They believe she could have lived if the burns had been given medical treatment.

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