Mom on Facebook During Toddler Death

A Colorado mother was arrested on Friday, June 17, 2011 on suspicion of child abuse following the death of her 22-month-old on May 28, 2011.

Karen Pena, 30, was surfing Facebook when the toddler, Laniece Fletcher, was struck by a van in her apartment complex. The van, which transports children with disabilities to a local hospital, had just dropped off another child at the complex.

The driver said she felt a bump and discovered that she had run over the child. Fletcher was rushed to the hospital where she died from a crushed skull.

Fletcher was wandering the complex while Pena was in her condo checking messages on Facebook. When asked who should have been watching the child, Pena replied, “Well, it was me, obviously.”

Upon viewing Pena’s condo, investigators discovered numerous hazards outside the residence including an unsecured, broken gate, a plastic swimming pool containing five inches of water and a can of lighter fluid in a children’s play area.

Police did not cite the driver of the van because they believe she could not have avoided hitting the toddler.

Pena is the second Colorado mother to be arrested for Facebook-related child abuse charges in less than a year. In April 2011, Shannon Johnson of Fort Lupton, CO was sentenced to 10 years after pleading guilty to child abuse after her 13-month-old son drowned in the bathtub while she played a game of Facebook.

If someone you know has died or was injured in an accident, an accident injury attorney can provide guidance.

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