Court docs: Teen accused of smothering young sister, brother also mutilated kitten


Photos of Desiree, Nathaniel courtesy of FOX19

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RIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. – Prosecutors say a boy in Ripley County was just 13 years old when he killed his two young siblings.

The teen’s arrest comes over a year after police first began investigating the deaths of 23-month-old Desiree McCartney and 11-month-old Nathaniel Ritz.

Emergency crews were first called to the children’s home in Osgood, Indiana on May 6, 2017 after McCartney was found unresponsive. Her death was ruled suffocation by smothering, according to the coroner’s office.

Emergency crews returned to their home less than three months later after Ritz was found unresponsive. The coroner’s office determined he was smothered as well.

McCartney and Ritz were living in a home with their teen brother, their mother and their mother’s boyfriend, who is Ritz’s father, at the time of their deaths.

Investigators started looking into their brother more after multiple people told police he was saying some very disturbing things, including “some things (he) had done to some kittens,” according to court documents.

On Sept. 5, 2017, police say they were contacted by the teen’s mother and informed that he had mutilated a kitten “to the point of almost killing it” at a family member’s home. The family member said the teen’s temper reminded her of the “Hulk.”

The family member has a prosthetic leg and suffers from diabetes. At one point, she said he “said that with all of her health problems, maybe she just needed to die,” according to court documents. The teen was said to make similar statements about an old dog at the house.

The family members he was staying with had several kittens on their front porch, and weren’t allowed inside. Court documents show they found one in the basement and it had something wrong with it.

The teen boy was found crying, and the kitten had “blood all over it and its insides were hanging out of it.” The kitten also had a puncture-like wound to its head. When confronted, the boy said the kitten had scratched him. He got mad and squeezed really hard.

The family members knew the cat was suffering and needed to be put down. Court documents show the teen asked if he could go and see “the kitten’s brains splattered everywhere.”

When police interviewed the teen, they discussed how he’d been kicked out of school. He said he was tired of being bullied by another student. When they discussed Desiree and Nathaniel’s death, court documents show the boy said “he had a conversation with God about them, but he could not talk about it because he had promised God he wouldn’t tell anyone.”

The officers got him to open up a little, and he started talking about dreams he had after the deaths and saving them from “hell and the chains of fire.”

“(The boy) said he had help from an angel to free them,” court documents state.

The teen reportedly told police he “didn’t plan on these things to happen…but had to set them free from this hell.”

When police asked what hell meant to him, he simply replied, “chores.”

Multiple other family members told police the boy admitted to putting blankets over the childrens’ heads until they “stopped making noise.”

The teen boy was detained and taken to a juvenile detention center in Dearborn County on August 28, 2018.

On September 6, the prosecutor’s office filed a petition alleging delinquency of  two counts of murder for the deaths of McCartney and Ritz.

His initial hearing was September 10. A judge ordered a competency evaluation. This means he will be evaluated by two doctors, and they’ll decide whether he’s competent to stand trial.

Also, the state filed a petition to wave him to adult court.

“In my time here, which is 19 years, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything as disturbing as this,” Prosecuting Attorney Ric Hertel said.

Hertel was asked whether the parents will face charges, and he said, “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.”

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