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Relative who was babysitting charged in connection with fire that killed 3-year-old

Kiara Jones mugshot for a February 2019 booking for leaving the scene of an accident. (KPRC2)

HOUSTON – A relative of a 3-year-old who was killed in an apartment fire earlier this year is now facing charges.

Kiara Jones, 19, is charged with child abandonment.

Jones was babysitting 3-year-old Giovanni Lyles when police said she left the apartment at Cozumel Apartments on Sierra Blanca Drive around 12:05 a.m. on March 11. 

Jones originally lied to investigators, saying she went to the store, according to authorities. But investigators learned Jones had left to meet a male friend in the parking lot.

Jones told investigators that when she returned, there was heavy smoke coming from the unit. 

The 911 call from Jones was recorded at 1:15 a.m.

Giovanni Lyles is seen in this undated photo provided by family members on March 11, 2019.

Investigators said the fire originated at the kitchen stove and that the cause was accidental.

"This is the very definition of a tragic situation," Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen said. "This is a case of negligence. An individual chose to ignore her responsibilities and that resulted in the death of a child. The law is clear in this situation."

According to authorities, Lyles and Jones were transported to the hospital, where the child later died from smoke inhalation.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Jones.