South Carolina Man Charged With Hugging Toddler to Death

Illustration for article titled South Carolina Man Charged With Hugging Toddler to Death

Robert Christian Kemp of Orangeburg County has been charged with the death of 14-month-old Jaylen Harris after a year-long investigation into the toddler's mysterious death.

Advertisement

When the child's death was reported in 2013 Kemp, who was watching Harris, told the police that the child had died while Kemp was in the kitchen doing chores. According to Kemp, the two had been playing when Harris made sleepy-time motions with his hands (rubbing his eyes) and Kemp put him into bed. Kemp claimed to have put the child into the crib on his back and with a bottle. Then he went to do something in the kitchen. When he became worried that he hadn't heard the child in a while (which in itself is suspicious; do babies make a lot of noises when they sleep?) he went to check on the baby and found Harris on his stomach, unresponsive and his hands balled into fists. Harris did not respond to CPR. Babycenter.com suggests that by 14 months a child knows how to walk, which makes Kemp's claims that the baby couldn't turn over even more suspect.

An investigation into Kemp's story revealed that he had been lying about the events that led to Harris' death. Authorities have reason to believe that Kemp bear-hugged the child until he stopped breathing, which is just horrific. One: how do you hug someone that hard? And two: What kind of monster do you have to be to not only hug someone so hard but just continue doing it as the person struggles to breathe?

Advertisement

Harris has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. He is currently out on a $10,000 bond.

Image via WLTX 19

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

ladyheatherlee
Ladyheatherlee

This is just awful and weird.

I do feel the need to point out though that early child development varies wildly. Neither of my children could walk at 14 months. One didn't walk until 21 months. At that age my older kid could not pull herself to a sitting position from lying down. Just saying, even though obviously it has no bearing on this horrible thing.