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12-Year-Old Indicted in Murder of Half Brother, Beating of Half Sister

April 6, 1989

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A 12-year-old girl who says she broke under the strain of daily baby- sitting was indicted as an adult Wednesday for allegedly killing her 2- year-old half brother and beating her 15-month-old half sister.

After two hours of deliberations, a Broward County grand jury indicted fifth-grader Arva Betts on adult charges of second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

Investigators were initially baffled on March 14 when they found 2-year-old Andrew Caesar strangled to death and his 15-month-old half sister Tiffany severely beaten and strangled, but still alive.

Two days later, the suspect, who was 11 at the time, was brought into custody. Police said the child confessed to the strangling and beating, saying she was overwhelmed by the responsibility of baby-sitting every day from the time she got home from school untill 11 p.m., when her mother returned from work.

Arva did not testify before the the grand jury despite the panel’s invitation to appear on her own behalf, said Broward State Attorney’s spokesman David Casey.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The maximum penalty for aggravated child abuse is 15 years.

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