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.
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.
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