The parents of a two-year-old girl who died after being abandoned on their front porch in the cold have been given an 18-month prison sentence.
On February 2, 2018, Tierra Williams, 23, left their Akron, Ohio, home for work, leaving Wynter Parker in her father’s care.
When Williams came back to their apartment two hours later, she discovered her toddler daughter “frozen” and unresponsive on the porch, according to the authorities.
As soon as possible, the mother covered the girl in blankets and dialed 911. “She’s iced! She was “frozen,” the caller reported.
Williams was pregnant at the time of the incident. She told the authorities that she left her daughter with Dariun Parker, the father, for two hours while she went out of the home with their four-year-old son.
On a day when the town’s temperature never rose above 19 degrees and dropped below freezing, Parker lost track of his daughter.
Without a coat or other winter clothing, the two-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital but passed away from severe hypothermia.
Williams reacted angrily on January 25 to Summit County Judge Alison McCarty’s decision to give the mother a two-year prison term.
The father, Parker, claimed full responsibility for their daughter’s passing.
Parker was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal as saying, “I can’t tell you how sorry I am about what happened, it was a tragic accident.”
In November 2018, the parents entered into a plea agreement for child endangerment, a crime that carries a potential three-year prison sentence. Parker and Williams wanted probation, but the government pushed for a prison term.
Wynter’s de*ath, according to Assistant Prosecutor Dan Sallerson, was not the first time Akron police had been called to the parents’ apartment because their kids were playing outside unsupervised.
The toddler’s de*ath, he claimed in court, could have been avoided because the family had breakfast together the morning of the incident and the 25-year-old father had been up all night working.
Mr. Sallerson declared that this dangerous situation wasn’t necessary. “That shouldn’t have happened.”
“We do have a young child who died as a result,” I continued. Prison, in our opinion, would be the proper punishment.
The judge acknowledged that the couple, who have been estranged since Wynter’s de*ath, were in a dysfunctional situation as a result of Parker staying up all night in a studio making music for a side gig.
Williams, a hairstylist, was required to work throughout the day. She couldn’t have brought two children with her because she cuts hair at clients’ homes.
McCarty stated, “That needed to be resolved. “That’s an untenable situation.”
Before claiming that the Wynter’s parents didn’t prioritize raising their children, she added that parents’ top priority should be to care for their children.
McCarty continued, “Two-year-old children, like their daughter, can frequently get into life-threatening situations like drowning in a pool or drinking poisonous substances if they are left unattended.”
Everywhere has the potential to be dangerous, she continued. “You two didn’t look at each other. Not a lack of love, a lack of attention,” noting that it wasn’t the case all of the time, but “some of the time, which put both children at risk.”
McCarty informed the defendants that she might think about releasing the parents sooner.
Williams’ defense lawyer, Kani Hightower, concurred in court that the mother erred by leaving her daughter by herself with Parker while being aware of the fact that he had not slept well the night before.
She countered, however, that when Williams discovered her daughter outside, she did everything she could to save her. Williams called the police, warmed Wynter with blankets, and has since cooperated with investigators and prosecutors.
In court, the toddler’s maternal grandmother, Angela Williams, begged Judge McCarty to sentence the 23-year-old mother to probation on behalf of her granddaughter.
The grandmother described Williams as a good mother who had already endured enough pain as a result of her daughter’s passing. Williams had made “one bad decision,” according to the grandmother.
She said, “With her being away from her children and her family, we need to heal as a family and not be pulled apart.”
Since Wynter’s de*ath, Williams and Parker had split up. The parents have split custody over their two children under the supervision of Summit County Children Services.