A 4-year-old girl died after her grandmother suspected she may have stolen a sip of whiskey and then forced the child to drink the rest of the bottle as her mother watched, Baton Rouge Police said Friday.
The East Baton Rouge coroner’s office said China Record, 4, died Thursday from acute alcohol poisoning. Her blood-alcohol content de ella was more than eight times the legal limit for adult drivers.
The little girl’s siblings told police their grandmother forced the child to drink the whiskey as her mother watched, according to an affidavit. The child died at her Wallis Street home. The little girl’s grandmother, Roxanne Record, 53, and her mother Kadjah Record, 28, were both booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish prison on first degree murder early Friday morning.
China’s death was the second killing of a child younger than 5 in East Baton Rouge in nine days, and the city-parish’s fourth such killing this year — a staggering figure that far outpaces the single killing in that age bracket by this point in 2021, Advocate records show.
Arrest documents for Roxanne and Kadjah Record say the women became angry after China took a sip from a bottle of Canadian Mist, an 80-proof whiskey, sometime Thursday morning.
Detectives, citing the interviews with the girl’s siblings and other evidence, alleged the grandmother then made China get down on her knees and finish off the bottle, which was “over half full.” Meanwhile, her mother looked on, the documents say.
After the girl finished drinking the whiskey, Kadjah Record placed her daughter in a bathtub, and neither woman sought medical care for China until after she had stopped breathing, police alleged in booking documents.
Whiskey at 80 proof is 40% alcohol.
Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said China had a blood alcohol level of .680% when first responders arrived at the house, over eight times the .08% level at which adult drivers are considered legally intoxicated.
“Even if this was a full-grown adult, this is a fatal amount of alcohol,” said Dr. Ernest P. Chiodo, a physician, attorney and toxicologist based in Chicago.
For comparison, when LSU student Max Gruver died in September 2017 after drinking 190-proof alcohol during a fraternity initiation game known as “Bible Study,” his blood-alcohol level reached .495%. A recent manual for medical personnel says the median death-inducing blood alcohol level is 0.36%, Chiodo said.
Such high levels of alcohol poisoning can kill by inducing respiratory and cardiac arrest.
Young people have died at higher rates in 2022 compared to two previous years of soaring homicides in Baton Rouge, according to Advocate data. Thirteen people younger than 20 have been killed since January in the city-parish, five of whom were 5 or younger. Three of those five other toddler-age homicide victims died due to domestic violence, according to police.
It was not immediately clear Friday whether either suspect in China’s killing had legal counsel.
After she was taken into custody, Roxanne Record said, “This went too far” and that she had “ruined everyone’s lives,” detectives said in arrest documents.
Neighbors around the family’s property on Wallis Street, a quiet block just off a bustling section of Florida Boulevard, said they had seen more than one child come and go from the house in the past. But the people who lived there had mostly kept to themselves in the two or so years since they’d moved in, neighbors said.
The sight of police, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel swarming the dilapidated house on the street’s corner Thursday dismayed some of them.
“It’s sickening,” said Kiara Charles, 30, who lives several houses down the street from the Records’ home.
The house at the end of the block was quiet Friday, with blacked-out windows and a couple of rickety cars parked in a back driveway, behind a pile of belongings that included a child’s bicycle.
The status of China’s siblings, whom police reported interviewing at the home, was not immediately clear. A spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said the agency was “devastated” to learn of China’s death from her but the agency could not comment further.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism