A Texas father has been charged with child abandonment Friday after his six-year-old daughter strangled her one-year-old brother with a seat belt while he left them alone in a car to go shopping for an hour and 40 minutes.
Adrian Dreshaun Middleton, 26, from Houston was arrested last week but on Monday was no longer in police custody in connection with the May 20 incident where Adrian Middleton Jr. fell victim to a homicide by strangulation.
The dad told law enforcement he gave the youngsters snacks and water, turned on the air conditioning and played a movie before leaving them alone in the vehicle for only 30 to 45 minutes.
However surveillance cameras showed he was gone between 10.45am and 12.15pm.
The defendant claimed to have checked on the children through a store window and thought they were fine. But according to video footage he did not.
Middleton also said he had strapped the pair into car seats but later admitted there were none present.
He said when he returned to the Harris County parking lot to load his purchases into the trunk he found his daughter crying, requesting to use the bathroom.
When he asked where her brother was she told him she 'did something bad'.
After seeing the one-year-old's feet from the open trunk he raced around to the driver's side of the motor and saw his son in the rear seat with a seatbelt wrapped around his neck.
He removed the seat belt and attempted to perform CPR on the toddler until paramedics arrived.
The little boy was later pronounced dead at Texas Children's Hospital.
Middleton claimed the little girl did not respond initially when he asked what happened.
She told authorities her little brother began crying while her parent was in the first store so she played with him to get him to stop.
But when she stopped playing with him and he cried again she became 'angry' and tightened the seat belt around his neck.
When he fell unconscious she believed he had simply fallen asleep.
The incident occurred when Middleton was inside the second venue, Thrift Family Store.
The peace officer assigned to the Special Victims Division at the Child Abuse Unit of the Houston Police Department signed a sworn affidavit in regards to the tragedy.
The affiant said that the child witness knew the difference between fact and fiction so her story was credible and reliable.
The affiant was told by Middleton he'd been thrift shopping. The child witness confirmed he had been buying clothes in her interview with Harris County Children's Assessment Center.
It adds that Middleton 'did not voluntarily deliver the Complainant to a designated emergency infant care provider' before abandoning the infant.
Middleton's brother told ABC 13 he never intended for this to happen and that it was an accident.
The publication reports the daughter is now staying with her grandmother and that the Child Protection Service offered help to the family, but it's not clear if they have accepted. The child will not face charges because of her age, Houston police said.