Kathleen Walcott charged with child endangerment after five die in blaze

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Kathleen Walcott, 54, is charged with five counts of child endangerment A 53-year-old mother is charged with five counts of child endangerment after five of her young children…

Kathleen Walcott charged with child endangerment after five die in blaze

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Kathleen Walcott, 54, is charged with five counts of child endangerment

A 53-year-old mother is charged with five counts of child endangerment after five of her young children died in a house fire.

Kathleen Walcott, 54, had stayed at the home overnight with her youngest child, who was being treated for burns, authorities say.

Her three other children died of smoke inhalation and one died as a result of injuries sustained in the incident.

One died on Tuesday after he was airlifted to hospital in the US state of Illinois.

Police said Ms Walcott “could be responsible for the death of at least one of the children”.

The elder children, D’Zavonte Walcott, 7, and D’Khayla Walcott, 5, were pronounced dead at a local hospital on Tuesday, the Bartlett Police Department said.

The two youngest children, eight-year-old Kayla Walcott and 10-year-old Dreka Clark, were pronounced dead on Saturday at the same hospital after suffering burns and smoke inhalation.

‘Three-story house’

After the initial fire at an apartment building in Bartlett on Saturday night, emergency crews then went to the nearby home where Ms Walcott and her three youngest children were staying.

The youngest, Zion, was being treated for burns at a local hospital and her siblings were also being treated for severe burns at an as-yet unnamed hospital, CBS reports.

Kathleen Walcott’s other children were staying at a relative’s house nearby.

In a statement, the town of Bartlett’s mayor, James Sexton, said the children’s deaths were “very difficult to understand”.

Images of the three-story, red brick home appeared to show damage to some of the windows.

Neighbours said it appeared to be a three-story house.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Walcott’s lawyer said his client was staying with relatives after visiting family.

Police said Ms Walcott could have also been a caregiver for her two youngest children.

Image copyright Midwestern Bank Image caption Bartlett, in Illinois, has a population of around 44,000

“This case is unique in the sense that the mother was babysitting the three younger children that died in the fire,” police Chief Marty Jensen said.

“The mother was in her son’s home.”

The investigation into the fire is ongoing, police said.

Bartlett is just over 30 miles north of Chicago and has a population of 44,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

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