Babysitter charged for abandoning 3-year-old boy who died in house fire after she allegedly left the residence to meet a friend

A young boy who died after a fire broke out in a Houston-area apartment was alone at the time, and now his babysitter is facing a criminal charge, KTRK-TV reports.

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Kiara Jones, 19, on a second-degree felony charge of child abandonment in connection with the death of 3-year-old Gio Lyles.

On March 11, a reportedly fire broke out inside the apartment where Jones said she had been babysitting the boy.

Jones first told police that she had left the child alone so she could make a trip to the store, according to the news station.

Investigators determined that was a lie: Phone records indicated that Jones actually spent more than an hour with a male friend in a parking lot, Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen told KTRK-TV.

“This is the very definition of a tragic situation,” Christensen said. “This is a case of negligence. An individual chose to ignore her responsibilities and that resulted in the death of a child. The law is clear in this situation.”

When Jones returned to the apartment, heavy smoke was already present inside.

Authorities determined the fire started accidentally on the kitchen stove.

Gio was rushed to Texas Children’s Hospital West, where he was pronounced dead.

Jones also was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Lyles’ grandmother, Natosha Lyles, told WTAE-TV she is heartbroken over her grandson’s death but has wonderful memories of him.

“I’m grateful for the time because it was the best three years of my life,” Natosha Lyles said.

Lyles’ father, Brent Johnson, also said he would remember the good times he shared with his son.

“He was perfect,” Johnson told WTAE-TV. “He was literally perfect.”

[Feature image: Pixabay]