A 1-year-old girl is dead after her father decided to run from police… and leave her to burn to death in a car fire.
It happened on Friday night on S.C. 14 in Greenville County, South Carolina.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Captain Kelley Hughes said a state trooper tried to pull over a car for speeding. Hughes said the car was going 67 in a 45 mph zone.
Instead of pulling over, the driver took off onto Interstate 85 northbound. During the chase, the trooper saw smoke and sparks coming from underneath the car. A short time later, it turned into flames.
Troopers tried to set up a road block and the burning car slowed to a stop around mile marker 60, Hughes said. As the car slowed to a stop, the driver jumped out of the car and ran.
Firefighters put out the fire and found the body of 1-year-old Xena Rah’Lah Normal of Spartanburg in the backseat of the vehicle.
Police and a K-9 team later found the driver. He’s identified as the girl’s father, 26-year-old Imhotep Osiris Norman of Greenville. Police said they later found a bag he’d thrown from the vehicle during the chase, which contained illegal drugs.
Norman is now charged with one count of homicide by child abuse, according to warrants from the State Law Enforcement Division. Police haven’t said what charges he’ll face for the bag of drugs. He’s currently in jail at the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
Under South Carolina law, homicide by child abuse carries a minimum of 20 years in prison and up to life.
During a bond hearing on Saturday, Norman said it was an accident.
“I just know that the car wasn’t on fire when I got out the car. I would have stayed in that car with my daughter,” Norman said. “I seen sparks coming from under the tires when I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop at that point. I don’t know why what happened to the car where I couldn’t stop.”
During the hearing, the little girl’s grandmother actually expressed SUPPORT for Norman.
“He would have died for her,” Christina Palmer said, according to the newspaper. “I don’t believe what they are saying. He would have saved his baby.”
But he didn’t die for her. And he didn’t save her. According to police, he took off and left his child in the car to burn to death. And this is why we have laws that punish criminals.
The girl’s mother, Thaisha Young, launched a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses for the toddler.
A GoFundMe page has been started to help cover funeral expenses for the toddler.
“This situation I am facing has affected my ENTIRE LIFE!” Thaisha Young, Xena’s mother, wrote on the fundraiser page. “How could God take such a beautiful loving child and take my baby XENA from me?”