Autopsy confirms toddler was alive when put into oven; grandmother charged with murder

SHAW, Miss. (AP/WSVN) — An autopsy has confirmed a toddler was still alive when she was put into a hot oven in her grandmother’s Mississippi home last week.

Carolyn Jones, 48, is charged with murdering her 20-month-old granddaughter, Royalty Marie Floyd, after authorities said the little girl was stabbed and burned in an oven.

The Bolivar County Coroner’s Office said the child’s cause of death was both stabbing and burning, WMC-TV reports.

“I’ve been doing law enforcement for 25 or 26 years now,” Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr. told The Associated Press. “This is one of the most horrible things I’ve seen in doing law enforcement. The hardest part … is to see a child victim.”

Sheriff’s officials said Floyd lived with Jones while Floyd’s mother lived elsewhere.

Williams said Jones’ brother found the body Monday night and called police in Shaw, a town of about 2,000 people approximately 100 miles northwest of Jackson. Police in turn called the sheriff’s office and others for assistance.

Jones was arrested when police arrived at the home and held overnight for questioning while charges were readied, the sheriff said.

“That was the only person who was there with the child at the time,” Williams said.

Authorities said they had no immediate information about the circumstances leading up to the child’s death.

“That’s hard to say,” Williams said. “We don’t know.”

The sheriff said the murder charge was filed after consultations with Bolivar County District Attorney Brenda Mitchell.

The child was found inside a beige frame house in the north end of Shaw. Police tape still surrounded part of the house Tuesday morning, while a stroller, a high chair, and a trash barrel of toys including a scooter sat near the curb in front of the house. Williams said those toys had belonged to the child.

Neighbors said they rarely saw anyone coming in and out of the home.

“It’s a baby. It’s an innocent child. She didn’t ask to be here,” neighbor Tomorrow Williams told WMC-TV.

A woman in Greenville, about 20 miles from Shaw, pleaded guilty to killing her 3-year-old son in a heated oven in March 2011. Terri Robinson pleaded guilty to murder in 2012 in the death of Tristan Robinson. Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said an autopsy found Robinson had died from heat injuries sustained in an electric oven.

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