Eventual charges in child's death depend on results of investigations - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Eventual charges in child's death depend on results of investigations

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - No charges have been filed in a fire that killed a three-year-old boy and seriously injured his brother, but officials at the Shelby County District Attorney's office said Wednesday that could change.

"We recognize that our citizens in this community are outraged," said Harold Collins of the D.A.'s office. "We are outraged."

Investigators say the boy's mother and his aunt were out running errands when the fire started.  The boy and his younger brother had been left home alone.

Memphis Child Advocacy Center officials say that is a bad idea.

"We just implore parents and neighbors to work together to find ways to take care of the children so that the children won't be hurt," the Center's Nancy Williams said.

At this point, investigators have not filed criminal charges in this case, and Collins says the District Attorney's office must proceed with caution.

According to Collins, prosecutors are waiting for three separate reports:

  • A report from the Shelby County Medical Examiner regarding the death of three year-old Ladareon Dunn
  • A report from the Memphis Fire Department regarding the cause of the fire
  • A report from the Memphis Police Department regarding its investigation.

Collins said all these things take time, and all are necessary.

"To get to the facts so that we can make an informed decision on which course of action to take, that's critical," he said. "We cannot allow our emotions to dictate what we must do according to the law."

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons released the following statement Wednesday:

"As District Attorney, I am very concerned for the welfare of the children in our community, and will prosecute anyone who victimizes a child. Regarding the deadly fire on Monday in which a three-year-old child was killed and a two-year-old child was seriously injured, it is our duty to review all of the facts, evidence and information, and once the entire investigation is completed, we will make a charging decision. At this point, we are still waiting for pertinent information to this investigation. It would not be appropriate to make a decision to charge the mother or anyone else in this case without having all of the facts. Once we get the complete investigation from the Memphis Police Department, Memphis Fire Department and the Shelby County Medical Examiner we will act quickly to determine the appropriate course of action to take in this case."

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