SHAW, Miss. – A Mississippi toddler was still alive when her grandmother allegedly placed her in a hot oven after stabbing her, an autopsy has found.
The death of 20-month-old Royalty Marie Floyd, who was found stabbed and burned inside an oven of a Mississippi Delta home, led to a murder charge against the child’s grandmother, authorities said.
Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr. said 48-year-old Carolyn Jones was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Floyd in the town of Shaw.
“I’ve been doing law enforcement for 25 or 26 years now,” Williams 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.”
He said authorities had no immediate answers in the death of the woman’s granddaughter.
Jones made an initial appearance October 16th before a judge, who set bail at $500,000. Jones remained jailed and it wasn’t immediately clear if she had a lawyer who could speak for her.
Sheriff’s officials said Floyd lived with Jones while Floyd’s mother lived elsewhere.
Williams said Jones’ brother found the body on October 15th night and called police in Shaw, a town of about 2,000 people approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Jackson. Police in turn called the sheriff’s office and others for assistance.
The child’s body was sent to the state Crime Lab in Pearl for an autopsy, which confirmed the baby had been placed in the oven while she was still alive, according to WNBC.
Jones was arrested when police arrived at the home, the sheriff said.
“That was the only person who was there with the child at the time,” Williams said.
Authorities said they had no immediately 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.