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Mother’s Boyfriend Arrested in Drowning of 5-Year-Old

April 6, 1994

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man was arrested on charges of drowning his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter in a motel bathtub two months after a judge who was told the girl was being tortured returned her to her mother.

The girl’s mother told police that Gary Lynn Christian dunked the child because she did not know her alphabet and numbers.

Christian, 33, was charged Monday with murder and assault in the 1993 death of Angel Lea Hart.

A relative who insisted the child was being tortured had been given custody of the girl by a judge in 1992, and a doctor found evidence she had been beaten.

But a day later, the girl was returned to her mother, Angela Melton, on a social worker’s recommendation that the family get counseling.

Angel’s disappearance came to light after Melton applied for food stamps in California and a caseworker determined that one of her children was missing.

Melton told police that Christian pushed her out of the bathroom and that she listened in the next room to her daughter’s cries of ″Help me, Mommy 3/8″ as Christian dunked her.

The child’s body has not been found. Police believe Christian buried it in the California desert.

No immediate charges were filed against Melton.

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