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.

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. 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?

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

Image via WLTX 19

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