Parents face charges in toddler’s death

Christopher McLean, left, and Kathreen Adams

The parents of two-year-old Margie June McClean are facing charges in connection with her May 16 death, according to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO).

The child’s mother, 23-year-old Kathreen Adams, has additionally been charged with aggravated manslaughter. That same charge is also looming for the father, 32-year-old Christopher McClean, pending review by the State Attorney’s Office. Adams and McClean were each initially charged with child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia.

The charges stem from the events of May 16 when Margie was found unresponsive in the family car at a Highway 81 residence in the Prosperity community. Sheriff John Tate stated in a May 17 press conference that dispatchers received the call around 3:43 p.m. on May 16 from a “hysterical female.†Records show a deputy arrived on scene within two minutes and was met by an individual carrying an unresponsive child. The deputy immediately began administering CPR on the child until Holmes County EMS arrived and took over. The child was pronounced deceased by EMS at 3:59 p.m.

Adams told investigators she found the child unresponsive in the house; however, HCSO states investigators began to piece together what happened after transporting the parents to the sheriff’s office for interviews. HCSO additionally requested EMS take the child’s body temperature, which was determined to be 107 degrees.

“With interviews from the parents and witnesses on scene, it was determined that the child had been in a car,†said Sheriff Tate. “When the mother was confronted with the information, she was forthcoming and admitted the child had been in the car.â€

The mother told investigators she picked up the children from the babysitter after ending her shift at a Ponce de Leon convenience store around midnight and decided to leave Margie in the car because she was sleeping. According to Adams’ statement, the 4-year-old got out of the car and came into the house on his own.


“The parents ultimately fell asleep after smoking marijuana and did not wake up or realize she was still in the car until 3:41 the next afternoon when they found her unresponsive,†said Tate. “There is still a gray area of time from when they found the child and when they called 911. We are investigating that part and trying to piece together the puzzle. Adams admitted to leaving the child in the car for around 14 hours. McLean has been uncooperative with the investigation. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and said he did not wish to speak to us at that time.â€

Search warrants were executed for the residence and the car. Those searches yielded the discovery of marijuana, CBD gummies, methamphetamine smoking pipes and various other illegal items. Inside the home, investigators found “numerous bags of methamphetamine,†with some being located inside the child’s bag. 

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jay Radke performed an autopsy and ultimately determined heat stroke as the child’s cause of death. Other forensic testing was processed for Margie, McClean, Adams, and their four-year-old son. While it was concluded Margie did not have drugs in her system, investigators report both parents tested positive for methamphetamine, and a hair follicle test from the four-year-old boy also showed positive for methamphetamine.

The State Attorney’s Office is expected to make a determination on McClean’s pending charge of aggravated manslaughter by the end of the week.

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