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13-Year-Old Accused in Cousin’s Death

July 22, 2001

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy was in custody Saturday, accused of manslaughter in the death of the 4-year-old cousin he had been baby-sitting, authorities said.

Emergency personnel were called to the home Thursday night after a report that Tabitha Tucker had fallen down the stairs, said Sgt. Tom Reddin, of the sheriff’s department. But an autopsy Friday showed that her injuries were inconsistent with a fall.

Saturday, the Boone County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide, and said the child died of head injuries.

The boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was baby-sitting Thursday night, Reddin said.

The call for medical help was placed from a neighboring home because the house where the children were had no telephone, authorities said. It was unclear who made the call; police would not say whether anyone else was in the home with the children at the time.

The girl was pronounced dead at a hospital, Reddin said.

The boy was taken into custody late Friday on a charge of second-degree involuntary manslaughter.

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