Toddler Left Home Alone Found Dead


Eric Hicks
Eric Hicks
Time and again the headlines are filled with stories of young children left home alone. Typically they're found fine, and we all fret about what could have happened. In Joplin, Missouri, however, it's what did happen that's heartbreaking.

According to The Joplin Globe, Eric Hicks, 28, was watching his girlfriend's 18-month-old son, Emjay Corn, Saturday morning. He had an appointment at a methadone clinic, but instead of taking the boy with him or finding alternative care for him, he just left him there, alone in his crib. Sometime later the boy was found dead.

The boy's cause of death is still under investigation, and Hicks has been charged with felony child endangerment. Other details are murky as to why police arrived at the house when there was no record of a call being made to them that day and where the mother was. But regardless of the specifics, on the surface, it's such a blatant and sad example of why young children should never be left home alone -- not for an hour, not even for a couple of minutes.

It's hard to find child care, I know. And for some who have to work to pay the rent or keep medical appointments, leaving the children alone may feel like the only option, perhaps especially so for someone coping with drug addiction. But it never can be. Even children who are sleeping or otherwise engaged can get into a dangerous situation in no time at all. People who don't understand that shouldn't be left in charge of them.

I feel for this entire family. I can only imagine their pain and suffering right now as they piece together what happened, contemplate what they could have done to prevent it, and beat themselves up for the rest of their lives over what they didn't do. But that's the thing when it comes to our children's safety -- we don't get do-overs, and that's why we have to put it first, above anything else.

Do you know people who leave young children home alone? Have you ever?

Image via KTTS

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nonmember avatar sandra

my dad used to leave me and my brother home when he had to drive my mom to work and go to the clinic. sure we weren't toddlers, i was 13 and my brother was 8, but we were asleep and nothing was going to happen to us. i kind of don't understand how a baby died asleep in his bed. in a crib he couldn't get out of. maybe it was SIDS? if so it wasn't his fault. but i guess i can't really say. i wouldn't leave my baby alone if i had one.

ajohn... ajohnson6636

The mother was in a mental facility at the time.  I don't know why maybe something like suicide I think I read.  The baby died from blunt force trama to the head.  The Boyfriend has been charged with murder as of March 2012

Heather Duso Johnson

This is why parents should have to be tested before they are allowed to take their babies home.  You need a license to fish for crying out loud!!  And it seems like the awfulest people seem to get pregnant at the drop of a hat when decent people have a much harder time! 

Sharlyn Salazar-Remrey

No way, no how have I or would I ever leave my child unattended!  Its scary to think people just casually do this.    In our house, they have to be at least 13 yrs to stay home alone, and prove they are mature enough to handle the responsibilities of it.    I have to say this though I'm very sorry for the tragic, sudden death, but the mother who is knowingly dating a methadone addict is not innocence in any way.  She knowingly put her children in the care of someone who can't make good decisions for himself.  

nonmember avatar mrskailuakona

Just so you know the mother was in a mental hospital at the time of her toddler's death. The toddler died from blunt force trauma the meth. addict of a boyfriend killed him as his death has been ruled a homicide.

Henry Chinery

The baby was murdered by the boyfriend. He wasn't going to take a dead baby with him. Probably figured leaving him home would make everyone think it was SIDS or at least give him an alibi.

Helen J. Hunter

In the first place, babies do not die from being left alone in a crib for a day! Not unless the furnace is blaring and the baby dies of heat stroke. No, there is more to this story for sure.

simpl... simplesimon222

cryingThis tragedy was 100% preventable. The mother should have never left her child with an addict in the first place, in my opinion that is not a responsible adult and he is/was not worthy of trust to watch a child. I am so angry and sad about this because it could have been prevented if she and her druggie boyfriend would have had some common sense. I know that with draw is not an easy thing to go through because I have seen people that have had to do it, but the price was too high for methadone in this case. Anytime it costs the life of a baby/child, the price is too steep. Surely there was some one he could have called that was responsible and understanding instead of just leaving that child ALONE, that is NEVER acceptable no matter the circumstances. A neighbor, an aunt or uncle of the child, someone. A complete stranger would have been better than what he did. This is so heart breaking !!!!

Leah Morris

My 10 yr old grandson is O.K. with staying alone at my house while I run to the store a short distance away.    However   I am not.  So. no


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