Veronica Green Posey, 64-year-old, was arrested and charged with homicide and cruelty toward a child. She was taken to Escambia County Jail on a $125,000 bond and was released on Monday. Police also arrested 69-year-old Grace Joan Smith and 62-year-old James Edmund Smith, Dericka’s parents. They were charged with child neglect for failing to report the abuse. Only James remained in jail. Dericka’s mother told police she called Posey, her niece, to help discipline the girl “for being out of control.”
Dericka’s father said Posey was sitting on his daughter for about 10 minutes before she started complaining of breathing problems. Posey also hit the girl with a ruler and metal pipe before the child ran to an armchair. Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said to media the family had a previous interaction with the state’s child welfare system. Escambia County jail records didn’t list an attorney for Posey or the Smiths.