Entries in Children (66)


Guns for Kids Marketing Debate Ignited by Latest Child Death

(AUBURN, Wash.) -- The tragic shooting death of a 2-year-old girl by her 5-year-old brother this week was compounded by the fact -- baffling to many who don't use guns -- that the .22 rifle the boy used has been given to him as a present.

The shooting was also the fourth this past month in which a child fired a gun at a sibling or parent. The most recent incident happened Wednesday night in Auburn, Wash., when a 7-year-old boy accidentally shot his 9-year-old sister in the leg. The boy had grabbed a .22 caliber rifle from another brother's closet.

Lobbyists and advocates across the country are growing increasingly indignant over such shootings, and websites like Kid Shootings and Oh Shoot have now sprung up to track such incidents.

The shooting that has focused major attention on young kids with guns, as well as the gun industry's growing focus on young children as the next generation of customers, was Tuesday's fatal shooting in Cumberland County, Ky.

At about 1 p.m. the boy used a rifle that was given to him as a gift to shoot his sister in a moment when his mother stepped outside.

"The weapon is a single shot .22 caliber rifle," Cumberland County police spokesman Billy Gregory told "One of the parents was at home at the time of the shooting. She had stepped outside the residence. She was cleaning and stepped outside to empty a mop bucket, and heard the shot and ran back inside."

Gregory said that the case is currently a death investigation, and detectives are waiting for findings from the coroner.

"When you're dealing with grieving parents and a young child who shot his sister, there are a lot of muddy waters we have to wait for to clear," he said.

The gun was a Cricket model manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms. The weapon is known as "My First Rifle."

The website for the brand, which uses the slogan "Quality firearms for America's youth," says that "the goal of KSA is to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve."

Though KSA's website for Crickett rifles does not specify the age range for use of its products, the site does have a "Kid's Corner" which shows images of children, who appear to be from 5-12, holding rifles. The rifles come in a range of colors, from brown to hot pink to orange.

The company produced 60,000 Crickett and Chipmunk rifles for kids in 2008.

When contacted by, a representative for Keystone Sporting Arms, located in Milton, Pa., said that the company is not answering questions.

The shooting in Kentucky on Tuesday and the one in Washington on Wednesday were the latest in a series of shootings in the last month involving young children.

In early April, Brandon Holt, 4, was shot by his 6-year-old friend in New Jersey while the two were playing a game of "pretend shooting," also with a .22 caliber rifle. The following day, a 4-year-old boy in Lebanon, Tenn., fired a gun that killed his mother.

Josh Sugarmann, executive director and founder of the Violence Policy Center, a lobbying group working to tighten the regulation of firearms, told that as the traditional market of white male gun owners is aging, the industry is looking towards a new market.

"There is a wide range of gun manufacturing targeted at youth," he said. "The gun industry and gun ownership is declining, it has been for decades, and like tobacco, the industry needs new customers ...The most vulnerable years to entice children as future gun customers is during their youth."

Sugarmann said that the gun industry's marketing to youth has been going on for years, and has been ramped up over past 15 years or so. He points to a summer 2007 editorial in Shooting Sports Retailer magazine in which columnist Bruce Bear discusses how to market to a newer, younger customer.

"It's absolutely critical for us to pass a love of shooting and hunting on to the next generation," Bear wrote. "Due to heavy public sensitivity to the irresponsible promotion of firearms to youth, every promotion should foster both respect for and safety with firearms."

According to the Violence Policy Center, from 1977 to 2010, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped more than 40 percent. The cause, the group believes, is the aging of the current gun owning population and a lack of interest in guns by youth.

Sugarmann said that the ongoing marketing effort towards youth is no shameful secret, and that the focus is industry wide. The solution as he sees it is legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the youth.

"We believe possession laws should mirror laws for purchase 18 for long guns, 21 for hand guns," he said. "The idea of putting a gun into a child's hand should be viewed as a crime."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Houston, Philadelphia Kids Accidently Shoot Themselves at Home

George Doyle/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A 4-year-old boy in Houston accidently shot himself in the head, and a 5-year-old girl in Philadelphia shot herself in the foot after both children got a hold of their parents' guns Tuesday night while playing at home.

The unidentified 4-year-old boy climbed onto a tall furniture chest and found a hidden handgun around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Houston Police Department.

The gun accidentally discharged when the child was turning it toward himself, hitting him in the head, police said.

The parents, who were in another room, heard the gunshot and found the child lying on his bed.  He was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital where authorities said he remains in critical condition.

In Philadelphia, the 5-year-old girl is recovering after she shot herself in the foot with her father's gun around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said the girl's father works in security.  His gun was in a holster when the girl found it and pulled the trigger.

No charges have been filed in either case.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Miami Triple Slaying: Mother and Daughters Found Dead in Bedroom Closet

Olga Cecilia Espinoza(MIAMI) -- Homicide police in Miami are investigating a triple slaying after a mother and her two daughters were discovered dead in a bedroom closet by a neighbor who smelled a foul odor.

The bodies were found at a home in northwest Miami Tuesday afternoon, said police, who have not publicly identified the victims.

But a family friend confirmed that Gladys Machado, 29, lived at the house with her two girls, Julia Padrino, 8, and Daniela Padrino, 6.

Olga Espinoza told ABC News that Machado also had a son, Michael, 6. The boy was found "safe and unharmed," according to police.

He was safe with his grandmother, the Miami Herald reported.

"She was friendly. She was outgoing, and a wonderful mother," Espinoza said through tears. "The little kids used to call me mom. Those kids were very friendly, very sweet. They were very attached to people. It's just devastating how someone so cold blooded and cruel could do something like this."


Miami-Dade police said they are investigating the deaths as a homicide. They have not yet released the cause or manner of death, which will be determined by the medical examiner. Investigators said that have not yet released the family's identities, pending notification of other relatives.

The bodies were discovered Tuesday when the neighbor, who has not been named, entered Machado's home and noticed an odd smell.

"The neighbor, who has access to the house, was in the house and smelled an odor that she wasn't familiar with," Miami-Dade Police spokesman Roy Rutland told ABC News. "She searched the house, and discovered the bodies inside the closet."

Rutland said investigators who responded to the scene learned that there was a son who lived in the house. Police at first believed he was missing, but were soon able to track him down, he said.

Espinoza said she had known Gladys Machado for about six years from the Lil' Pirates Learning Center, where both of their children attended child care. She said she last spoke with her Friday.

"I tried to contact her, and the phone went straight to voicemail, something that she never does, she would always call or text us back," she said.

Machado, who worked as an administrative assistant for the Beauty Schools of America, Espinoza said, posted a message on her Facebook wall hours earlier that read, "Where this road goes no one knows."

Machado had been separated from the father of her children for years, Espinoza said. She said Machado was dating someone else, but said she didn't know much about him.

Neighbors told the Miami Herald that Machado was living with a boyfriend who was recently released from jail.

Police said they are following several leads in the case.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bodies of Two Boys Washed Away By Sandy Found

Jose Ramos(NEW YORK) -- The bodies of two young boys who were washed away by Sandy’s floodwaters as their horrified mother watched were found Thursday in a marshy area, according to police.

The 2-year-old and 4-year-old boys disappeared on the New York City borough of Staten Island Monday night when waves caused by storm surges crashed into the family’s SUV while they were driving, according to ABC News station WABC in New York.

The boys were pulled into powerful waters after their mom put them on the roof of her car when rushing waters caused the car to stall.

The search for the boys continued until their bodies were found at the end of a dead-end street.

The parents of the missing children were at the scene where the bodies were discovered, according to WABC.

Superstorm Sandy killed at least 80 people in the United States. The storm resulted in massive flooding, power outages and widespread destruction on the East Coast.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Illinois Woman Charged with Killing Son, 5-year-old Girl Denied Bail

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Illinois woman charged with the murder of her 7-year-old son, who she stabbed over 100 times, and a 5-year-old girl in her care was denied bail by a Chicago-area court on Thursday.

Elzbieta Plackowska, of Naperville, Ill., will be held without bond in DuPage County, ABC News' Chicago affiliate WLS-TV reported.  The 40-year-old woman was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Wednesday evening.

Plackowska, who was babysitting the 5-year-old girl, was arrested after the children were found by police slashed and stabbed on Tuesday at 10:15 p.m.

The children were identified as her son, Justin Plackowski, and Olivia Dworakowski.

Plackowska was covered in blood when she was taken into custody, according to WLS-TV.  Investigators from the Naperville Police Department and the DuPage County States Attorney's Office questioned her before charges were filed.

Police found two dead dogs in the home that also were stabbed, WLS-TV reported.  Investigators said there was no reason to believe that any additional suspects were at large.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Plackowska has given authorities various explanations for what happened, including hearing demonic voices that led her to kill the children.

The girl attended kindergarten at Brookdale Elementary School and the boy was a student at Scott Elementary School.

"This is an extremely difficult time, but this is an extremely strong community and I'm confident in this community and our school district that we will pull together and move through this tragic event," said Naperville School district Superintendent Dan Bridges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Kids Killed in NY Identified; Nanny in Police Custody at Hospital

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York City Police Department has released the names of two children who were allegedly stabbed to death by their nanny in the family's Upper West Side apartment.

The bodies of 6-year-old Lucia Krim and 2-year-old Leo Krim were discovered in a bathtub by their mother on Thursday.  Their nanny was found lying unconscious nearby with apparently self-inflicted stab wounds to her neck, the NYPD said.

Both children were taken to a local hospital that evening and pronounced dead.

The nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, is in critical but stable condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she is in custody, according to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.  The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time.

A preliminary police investigation had not yet yielded a possible motive for the deaths.

The children's father, Kevin Krim, a CNBC executive, was on a business trip in San Francisco at the time of the murders.  He flew home Thursday night and police picked him up at the airport and rushed him to his family, authorities said.

The children's mother, Marina Krim, and her other child, a 3-year-old daughter, were returning from a swimming lesson to the luxury La Rochelle apartment building on the city's affluent Upper West Side at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.  When they found the second-floor apartment dark, she went back downstairs and asked the doorman if the nanny had left with the other children only to be told that was not the case.

She went back upstairs and discovered her two children stabbed in the tub.  The nanny was found on the bathroom floor with stab wounds to her neck, and a kitchen knife was close by, police said.  The mother's screams could be heard emanating from the apartment, Kelly said.

No charges have been filed and the investigation proceeded "aggressively," Kelly said, but the "operating assumption" was that the nanny's wounds were self-inflicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nanny Accused of Stabbing Dead 2 New York City Children

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A mother returning to her luxury New York apartment with her 3-year-old found her other two children stabbed to death in a bathtub and the kids' nanny lying unconscious nearby with apparently self-inflicted wounds, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.

The mother and daughter were returning from a swimming lesson to the luxury La Rochelle apartment building on the city's affluent Upper West Side at approximately 5:30 p.m., Kelly said. When they found the apartment dark, they asked the doorman if the nanny had left with the other children only to be told that was not the case.

"She goes looking for her children and finds her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son stabbed to death in the tub," Kelly said.

The mother's screams could be heard emanating from the apartment, Kelly said.

The nanny, approximately 50 years old, was in critical but stable condition at St. Luke's Hospital, he said.

She was in police custody, officials said earlier.

According to Kelly, the preliminary police investigation had not yet yielded a possible motive for the deaths.

Officials were not yet identifying the victims or the nanny, Kelly said.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Grisly Child Murders Prompt PCP Crackdown in New Jersey

Comstock/Thinkstock(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- Authorities in New Jersey are cracking down on PCP, a hallucinogenic drug that has been involved in two grisly murders of children in less than two weeks in the crime-ridden city of Camden, N.J.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office and the Camden Police Department say they are "concerned" with the use of the drug in the city and are "taking steps to curb the market for this exceedingly dangerous and destructive drug."

"Violent behavior with PCP, that's nothing new," Police Chief Scott Thomson said.  "It's happening on a daily basis in Philadelphia and urban centers all over the country.  But what has us concerned is the attacks on small children...Is something being added [to the PCP]?"

Authorities have seized batches of the drug for analysis and are implementing a $500 reward program for anyone who can provide information about the sale of the drug that leads to an arrest.

The crackdown on PCP came after a pair of horrifying murders, which police say involved the drug PCP.

Osvaldo Rivera, 31, told police that he smoked "wet," a combination of PCP and pot, before he allegedly slit the throats of a 6-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister in the middle of the night in their Camden home on Sept. 2.

Police believe the attack started as a sexual assault on the 12-year-old girl and turned into a murder when the girl's 6-year-old brother tried to intervene.  Rivera allegedly killed the young boy and his sister was able to escape and get help with her own throat slashed.  After fighting for her life, she is now in stable condition in the hospital.

Rivera has been charged with murder and attempted murder.  He sobbed throughout his first court appearance on Tuesday and prosecutors said he asked investigators during an interview, "How bad did I hurt them?"

On Aug. 22, authorities believe Chevonne Thomas was smoking wet before beheading her 2-year-old son Zahree in Camden.

Thomas had a history of substance abuse and mental health disorders, according to the Department of Children and Families.

She admitted that she killed her son to a 911 dispatcher moments before she stabbed herself to death.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Eight Children Died in August After Being Left in Hot Cars

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Parents' leaving their kids in the backseat of cars during the sweltering days of summer has become an all-too-familiar scene in the United States.

Twenty-three children have died of hyperthermia in cars in 14 states this year alone, and eight of the deaths occurred in the first week of August.  Nearly 40 children die this way each year, according to Kids and Cars.

The latest death was Aug. 7 when, police say, Stephanie Gray, 38, forgot to drop off her five-month-old son, Joel, at a church day care in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Instead, Gray dropped off her 11-year-old at school and returned home, leaving Joel in the backseat of the minivan, according to ABC News affiliate KLTV.

When Gray arrived at daycare around 2:30 p.m., she was told Joel was never dropped off, according to police.

"She was informed that her son was not there," police representative Kris Mumford told KLTV.  "She ran to her minivan, found her 5-month-old child inside the van and she carried her child into the day care.  It's believed he died in the van from the heat."

Police said that no charges have been filed.

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The temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Children are especially at risk because they can't handle extreme heat the way adults can.

"Kids heat up three to five times faster than adults," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.

In response to these incidents, the departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services is launching a nationwide campaign on Friday to crack down on kids being left in hot cars.

Called "Where's baby? Look before you lock," the program asks the departments of head start and also day care units across the country to distribute safety tips -- like when you leave your car, make sure you have something important in the backseat like your keys, cellphone or purse so you can't forget them or your child.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hero Kids Saved Lives at Sikh Temple Massacre

ABC News(OAK CREEK, Wis.) -- They were among the youngest at the Sikh temple near Milwaukee that deadly Sunday -- and some of the bravest.

Amanat Singh, 9, and her brother, Abhay Singh, 11, were playing outside when they heard gunshots that sounded like fireworks. It was the start of the incident that eventually claimed six lives before the gunman, Wade Michael Page, shot himself.

"We saw a guy," Amanat said. "He got out of a cab and he fast-walked and hit two people who were getting into their car."

The children didn’t hesitate. They ran into the temple to sound the alarm.

"As soon as we got in the kitchen, I started yelling," Abhay said. "I’m like: There's a guy with a gun! Hide! Hide!"

Amanat said she feared that the gunman would kill everyone.

The siblings were able to warn more than a dozen people to run and hide.

Harban Singh Farwaha was one of them.

"They saved my life," Farwaha said.

He added that they also saved the lives of, "my wife, my daughter-in-law and many people."

Amanat and Abhay are happy they were able to do that. Amanat even said she feels like a hero.

"I feel proud because I saved lots of lives," she said.

Even so, she and her brother wish they could have done more.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio