Baby found dead after police say mom went to work, left him alone for 8 hours

PHOENIX — Phoenix police have arrested a mother for child abuse after her 1-year-old boy was found dead in their apartment.

On Tuesday, July 17, at around 4 p.m., police were called to the apartment near 19th Avenue and Hatcher Road.

Donielle Joyce King (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

The mother, Donielle Joyce King, 32, was at home, and the baby was unresponsive on the bed.

The child was declared dead at the scene.

According to court paperwork, King “admitted she left her son home when she left for work” at around 6:30 a.m.

King told police she dropped off her four other kids at day care, but that her 1-year-old son “had open sores so he was not eligible for day care.”

According to court paperwork, King told police “her friend was going to babysit but apparently did not show up.”

When King arrived home, almost eight hours later, she told police “she found her son unresponsive on a mattress inside the children’s bedroom.”

King said her daughter called 911 while she gave the baby CPR.

Phoenix fire officials say they noticed several bruises on the child’s ankles and face. “The mother’s statements were not consistent and evidence was obtained, which led them to develop probable cause that the child had been abused,” police said.

King’s bond was set at $50,000.

During her preliminary hearing in court, a judge ordered King not to have any contact with anyone under the age of 18, including her own children.

“In your case, that is being ordered because the nature of allegations suggests there may be ongoing abuse issues in your home; that the alleged victim was very young and vulnerable,” the judge told King.

“If you are a threat to a 1-year-old, you may well pose a significant, if not greater, threat to older children,” the judge continued.

The judge also said she wanted to make sure that King was not housed in a jail facility where the other inmates were aware of the nature of the charge against her.

“Sometimes, what you’re accused of could cause other inmates to become a threat to you.”

King is due back in court July 25.

King’s other four children have been placed in the temporary custody of the Department of Child Services.