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General view of homes in Barrow, Alaska
General view of homes in Barrow, Alaska
Image: MarmotChaser via Flickr

Three-year-old girl 'died after being locked in freezing bedroom'

The toddler’s younger sister survived but suffered extreme hypothermia, authorities in Alaska said.
Mar 4th 2012, 1:12 PM 10,293 23

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl has died and her younger sister suffered hypothermia after their mother and her boyfriend left them in a locked bedroom with a window open in temperatures of minus 34°C, according to police.

The window was opened to air out the room because the girls wet their beds, authorities in Alaska said.

The mother, 28-year-old schoolteacher Esther G Edwards-Gust, appeared to be on the run yesterday.

She and 29-year-old Richard Tilden Jr were indicted in the child’s death on Friday, and Tilden was in custody.

The couple shared a home with Edwards-Gust’s 1- and 3-year-old daughters in the Inupiat Eskimo community of Barrow.

Police say the two girls last month were trapped overnight in their bedroom with a window open to temperatures that dropped to minus 34 degrees centigrade. Both children were diagnosed with extreme hypothermia and flown to an Anchorage hospital, where the three-year-old died.

Tilden later told authorities he’d been drinking the night before and opened the bedroom window to air out the room because the girls wet their beds, according to court documents. He also said the door’s latch was broken, making it impossible for anyone inside the room to open it.

A grand jury on Friday indicted Tilden and Edwards-Gust on charges including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Tilden also faces second-degree murder and assault charges. He was arrested last month.

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Associated Press


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