UPDATE: 2 charged in death of Brookings toddler
UPDATE, 10 a.m. Friday:
Authorities say two people have been arrested in connection to the death of a Brookings toddler.
Twenty-five-year-old Renae Fayant and 27-year-old Robert Price have been indicted on second-degree murder, according to Brookings County State's Attorney Dan Nelson.
Police received a report of an unconscious 3-year-old girl Wednesday afternoon.
First responders found the child at a residence on 7th Street. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Nelson said due to the signs of neglect, police requested and executed a search warrant at the home.
"What law enforcement subsequently found inside the residence was disturbing," Nelson said.
Nelson said Fayant and Price had confined the girl to a small area of the home, and deprived her of food and water for an extended period of time. Officers found human and animal feces throughout the home, including near where the child was found.
An autopsy confirmed the child died as a result of malnourishment and dehydration.
"This is such a heart-wrenching case because it involves such an innocent, helpless victim," Brookings Police Chief Dave Erickson said.
Price and Fayant were arrested Thurdsay. They face several charges, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and felony child abuse.
Nelson said Fayant placed the 911 call, notifying police about the condition of the child. Fayant was the victim's aunt. She and Price had been the child's caretaker for the past two years.
Two other children were in the home at the time. Nelson said they did not have any signs of abuse. They have been removed from the home.
"Throughout this investigation, I wondered how could this happen, and how could it go on for so long?" Erickson said. "I just can't help but wonder if there was a time that someone saw what was going on inside this home, and said nothing. I hope that is not the case."
Erickson asked anyone who may see signs of abuse or neglect in a home to notify authorities.
Brookings police said a criminal investigation is underway following the death of a toddler.
Assistant Police Chief Derrick Powers said an ambulance was called to the 900 block of Seventh Street around 4 p.m. Wednesday for an unresponsive child.
Upon arrival, police and first responders found a three-year-old child had died.
Brookings police plan to release more details during a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday at the station.
The news conference will be streamed on KSFY.com and on Facebook.