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Neglected 2-year-old shut in room with heater on dies of hyperthermia

Posted at 8:29 AM, Dec 23, 2015

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- A 2-year-old boy died in a home used as a methamphetamine lab after his parents left him alone in his room with a heater turned on - and didn't check on him, police in Missouri said.

Braydon Barnes was put in his crib on a Friday and left unattended with a space heater on for more than 38 hours, St. Charles police said.

Braydon Barnes, 2

Braydon Barnes, 2

Both parents Kathleen Peacock and Lucas Barnes told police they had used methamphetamine recently. They told officers they had been manufacturing in the home the week preceding their son's death.

The two were home all weekend as Braydon was shut in his room.

Peacock, who is currently pregnant, told police she heard Braydon make noises and knew that she should check on him but didn't.

The space heater has no thermostat and does not turn off automatically.

It wasn't until Sunday morning that the parents checked in on the boy, and found Braydon had died.

Lucas R. Barnes and Kathleen M. Peacock

Lucas R. Barnes and Kathleen M. Peacock

Paramedics said the child had been dead for some time.

Autopsy results revealed that Braydon was generally malnourished and thin. His cause of death was hyperthermia due to the extreme heat, which would have "caused extreme discomfort and difficulty breathing as he died."

Hyperthermia is an elevated body temperature that happens when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it can release.

Both parents are facing criminal charges of child abuse that resulted in death, and of manufacturing a controlled substance in a residence where a child resides.

The living conditions inside the house were so poor, police declared it uninhabitable and have condemned the house.