Mother faces manslaughter charge

Three-year-old Brianna Cordell died sweltering in a closed car, while her mother was engrossed in a computer fantasy-game, according to police.

Mary Christina Cordell, 36, was arrested Monday and faces a felony charge of manslaughter, said Brian Simmons, Springdale police spokesman. Cordell, who goes by her middle name, Christina, was being held in the Washington County jail Monday afternoon awaiting a bond hearing.

The charge is a Class C felony, punishable by three to 10 years in prison and a fine up of to $10,000.

Authorities said Cordell and her boyfriend, Eric Long, 21, may have been so fixated with the interactive game EverQuest that she neglected to pay adequate attention to Brianna's whereabouts on Aug. 8, the day the child died.

"The preliminary results of the autopsy indicate death by environmental hyperthermia. This information supports the initial claim as to cause of death," said Jeff Taylor, Springdale police detective.

Brianna was found dead in the front seat of her mother's car at about 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the apartment complex at 750 S. 40th St. She lived in an apartment with her mother, 9-year-old brother and Long.

"We also believe that on the day in question, Ms. Cordell was playing an Internet game, EverQuest, for a period of time exceeding two hours, during which she had no knowledge concerning the whereabouts of her daughter. It also appears this is not the first time the child was seen playing inside of a vehicle while unsupervised."

News source: NWA News

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