Boy, 10, charged with manslaughter in death of 2-year-old cousin

OCALA, Fla. — A 10-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday in connection with the June homicide of a 2-year-old Ocala girl, deputies said.

The boy has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of his cousin, Journee Blyden.

Journee was taken to a hospital with severe head trauma Tuesday, June 21 and died a few days later. Detectives were initially told that she’d fallen from a playpen, deputies said in a news release.

But after further investigation, detectives determined that the 10-year-old boy caused the girl’s fatal injuries.

During the investigation, a juvenile witness told detectives that the boy physically abused her and Journee when the three were left unsupervised.

When the 10-year-old boy was asked about this witness’s information, deputies said the boy told detectives that he was running while holding Journee and then fell on the kitchen floor, injuring her.

The boy then said he put her on the counter and “accidentally” pushed her off the counter top.

The Medical Examiner concluded that Journee’s injuries were not consistent with what the boy said happened and ruled the girl’s death a homicide, saying her injuries would have taken excessive force.

“This situation was developed through the evidence, and through a very thorough investigation, we developed all of the evidence,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lauren Lettelier said. “And with our State Attorney’s Office, they were able to collectively come together and decide that these charges were appropriate in this case.”

Journee’s father is Kendall Blyden, who is going on trial this week in the murder of another child he was caring for in 2014, Marion deputies confirmed.

In the case of that 1-year-old’s death, Blyden is also accused of making up a story, originally saying the child fell out of a crib.

Blyden’s murder trial is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.

As for the 10-year-old boy charged with manslaughter, he is in the juvenile jail in Marion County and is set to face a judge as well Thursday.

Note: The name of the charged 10-year-old boy has not been disclosed because he is a minor.