Babysitter Charged With Killing 14-Month-Old With Bear Hug

More than one year after a 14-month-old toddler was found dead in his crib in South Carolina, a 26-year-old man has been charged with killing him by hugging and squeezing him to death.

Robert Kemp, 26, was reportedly babysitting Jaylen Harris on June 27, 2013 when he says he noticed the child looked tired. He placed him in his crib on his back with a bottle, he told police, and then went into the kitchen to finish some chores. When he went to check up on him, Kemp claims Jaylen was lying on his stomach -- unconscious.


There was another adult in the home at the time of the incident, according to police, but his or her relationship to the baby is unclear. This person reportedly performed CPR on Jaylen but was unable to help him.

The little boy died of asphyxiation, according to the Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner.

An awful nightmare of a story with a really odd twist: it took more than one year for police to charge Kemp -- who was a friend of Jaylen's family. When it happened, the family set up a page on in order to raise money for funeral expenses and reportedly wrote that "Baby Jaylen passed away in his sleep of natural causes."

Despite this message, Kemp was taken into custody this week and released the next day on $10,000 bond. An arrest warrant said he killed Jaylen "by giving him a bear hug, squeezing the victim so tight that the victim stopped breathing as a result."

There are so many questions left unanswered here. Did Kemp squeeze Jaylen out of frustration because, perhaps, the baby was crying? Did he hug him a little too hard but with the intention of hugging him affectionately? And why did it take an entire year to bring charges against Kemp?

What do you think happened here?


Image via Janine/Flickr

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