Alaskan toddler locked in her room freezes to death


A 3-year-old girl from Alaska died and her younger sister suffered hypothermia after their mother and her boyfriend left them in a locked bedroom with an open window in below-freezing temperatures.

The window was left open to air out the room because the girls had wet their beds, according to the Associated Press.

The temperature outside in the Inupiat Eskimo community of Barrow — the northernmost city in the United States — was -34 degrees.

Both girls were diagnosed with extreme hypothermia and flown to an Anchorage hospital, where the 3-year-old died.

NBC News cited North Slope Borough police as saying Elementary school teacher Esther G. Edwards-Gust, 28, and her partner Richard Tilden Jr., 29, have been indicted in the child's death.

The pair, which shared the home with Esther G. Edwards-Gust daughters, are charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter and second-degree assault.
Tilden, who was arrested at the couple’s apartment on the 200 block of Momeganna Street. also faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and first-degree assault.

He had stayed home to take care of Edwards-Gust’s children while she worked as a second-grade teacher at Fred Ipalook Elementary School in Barrow.

The AP cited court documents as saying Tilden told authorities he'd put the girls to bed around 9 p.m., leaving the window open as the girls wet their beds.

He then drank two bottles of Rich and Rare whiskey he’d purchased from a bootlegger and fell asleep. He was reportedly woken by police around 12:30 p.m. the next day, Feb. 2.

He also reportedly said the door's latch was broken, making it impossible for anyone inside the room to open it.

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