Man Charged with Murder After Playing Video Games

Justin Kidwell Playing Video Games

In a shocking incident that has left a community reeling, a Texas man has been charged with murder following the tragic death of his infant daughter. The man, identified as 20-year-old Justin Kidwell, was allegedly engrossed in playing video games while his 8-month-old daughter was left unattended in a bathtub.

Kidwell was arrested by law enforcement officials in Burkburnett, Texas, on Monday in connection with the child’s death in May 2023, according to a statement from Burkburnett Public Safety. The police had responded to a distress call regarding an “unresponsive infant” on May 14, 2023, in a Burkburnett home. The 8-month-old girl was tragically found deceased in the bathtub.

The nearly year-long investigation conducted by Burkburnett police and the Texas Rangers revealed that the child died after being left unattended in the bathtub with the water running. Evidence found on Kidwell’s electronic devices allegedly shows he was engrossed in video games while the child was left unsupervised. Kidwell was the only adult in the house at the time.

Justin Kidwell allegedly admitted to officers that he placed the child in the bathtub with the water running and went to get his headphones to talk to a friend on Discord, a gaming platform. He allegedly told officers that he had left the child for anywhere between 30 seconds to a few minutes. Officers noted in the affidavit that the water was left running long enough to overflow from the bathtub, flood an air vent in the bathroom, and dampen the rugs outside the bathroom.

His friend on Discord called 911 when Justin Kidwell allegedly found the child face down in the water. Justin Kidwell has a prior offense regarding the safety of a child. In 2022, he pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment for allowing a minor under 15 to be near a controlled substance or consume it.

Justin Kidwell is currently being held on a $500,000 bond on the murder charge. Plea information was not available in online court information reviewed. An attorney listed for him did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of child safety and the devastating consequences of negligence.

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