ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – The mysterious death of a two year old child in St. Charles is no longer a mystery and that the death is now a criminal investigation. A St. Charles toddler died of hyperthermia, or extreme heat, after being left alone in a room for approximately 38 hours with a space heater that never turned off.
On Sunday, December 20, the mother, Kathleen M. Peacock, 22, discovered her child, Braydon, 2, was dead and ran to a neighbor’s home in the Elm Point Mobile Home Village. One of those neighbors ran to see if she could help. That neighbor said the child's room was extremely hot.
An autopsy was conducted to determine the cause of child’s death.
St. Charles Police said Tuesday that the child’s parents were cooking methamphetamine at the time of the child’s death. Authorities says the couple ignored the child's cries while they were on a weekend drug binge at their home.
Peacock, and the father, Lucas R. Barnes, 25, are facing charges of child abuse and neglect and manufacturing meth.
Police say that Peacock is pregnant.
Hyperthermia is an elevated body temperature that happens when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it can release.
Relatives of the 2-year-old and neighbors in the Elm Point Mobile Home Village say they are devastated.
One relative says Braydon appeared malnourished recently. She had distanced herself from the child's parents because she says they had a problem using drugs. She hopes the parents receive the maximum punishment if they are convicted.
Neighbors say they too had distanced themselves from the couple. Christopher Garcia says his girlfriend ran into the child's trailer after the little boy's mother started shouting for help. She says it felt like more than 100 degrees in the boys room.
"I just know that baby is in a better place. He was innocent. He was the most innocent most pure human being that could have happened. So you know he's an angel in heaven right now. I'd like to believe that." said neighbor Christopher Garcia.
"This is such a tragic event that's happened. I think if more people knew of our services. Knew that we are here and available and didn't have that fear of using us. We would see more use of the nursery." said Jill Kneemiller of the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
Relatives of the family say they want people know there are other children who may be in the same situation and are in need of help. They hope they'll get help before another innocent life is lost.