By Heide Brandes
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A 13-year-old Tulsa boy has been charged with child abuse murder in the death of his 2-year-old cousin and may be tried as an adult for the crime, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The 13-year-old was charged on Tuesday for the death of Charity Simmons in Tulsa in June. Medical examiners said the death was caused by violent blunt force trauma.
Any suspect aged 13 or 14 can be charged in Oklahoma as an adult as long as they are first certified as a youthful offender. A judge will have to decide whether the 13-year-old will face trial as an adult, prosecutors said.
On June 26, witnesses reported seeing the boy carrying Simmons down a street and asking for help, police said.
The girl had wounds including bruises and what appeared to be a bite mark on her left shoulder. She was pronounced dead from injuries that included a ruptured adrenal gland, a fractured rib, liver laceration and contusions to her face, head and back, they said.
The victim’s mother, Christina Simmons, was also charged with child neglect for failing to provide safe supervision.
(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Lisa Lambert)