Update: Florida child charged with toddler death appears in court

Journee Blyden (Photo Credit: Marion County Sheriff)
Journee Blyden (Photo Credit: Marion County Sheriff)

A sad scene  played out in a Florida court yesterday as a 10-year-old child accused of aggravated child manslaughter appeared before a judge. The child faces these charges in the homicide of his 2-year-old cousin Journee Blyden. The charges come after an investigation of the June 2016 death of the boy’s 2-year-old cousin. Law enforcement is stating that the death of Journee Blyden was due to head trauma inflicted by her cousin.

The name of the child defendant is not being released but his first court appearance was yesterday. The boy stood before Circuit Court Judge S. Sue Robbins wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit and flip-flops with his head not even reaching the podium at the defendant’s stand. Judge Robbins read the charges and evidence against the scared child and stated there was enough to continue to keep him in custody. He was assigned a public defender, and his next court date was set for September 21. The boy then signed court documents as his mother stood next to him and a his public defender gave him a hug.

During an investigation into the death of Journee Blyden, another child told detectives about the 10-year-old’s physical abuse of her and Journee when the three were unsupervised. Police spoke with the boy and he told detectives that he was running while holding the 2-year-old and he fell on the kitchen floor, causing her injuries. A decision was made by the detectives to present the evidence to the prosecutors from the State Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors determined that the charges against the 10-year-old would be appropriate given the injuries the victim sustained and all the facts of the case.

Journee Blyden’s mother, Nicole Davis, blamed “poor supervision” for her daughter’s death. She further stated, “I believe something needs to be done. It’s neglect.” The mother stated she had left town for a job interview and her daughter was planning to stay with relatives for the next 3-6 months during her search for employment. Judge Robbins did not order any type of counseling for the young defendant or grant him conditional release. In a strange twist, Journee’s father, Kendall Corey Dustin Blyden, is on trial this week in connection with the beating death of another small child, his then-girlfriend’s 1-year-old son, Jayden Green, who died nearly two years ago.

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