Wilton Manors, FL - In the end, police believe, the 11-year-old girl must have snapped.
Under constant pressure of babysitting while her mother worked, they say, Arva Butterfield strangled her 2-year-old stepbrother, choked and hit her 15-month-old stepsister Monday night, then got up Tuesday and went off to her fourth-grade classes.
Detectives were stumped for two days. Thursday, though, after an autopsy showed the boy died of asphyxiation, they confronted the girl. She admitted the attacks, detectives said.
Yesterday, her 12th birthday, she appeared before a Broward County Circuit Judge, one of the youngest people in south Florida ever to be charged with first-degree murder.
Co-workers said that Sally Butterfield, Arva's mother, would work double shifts whenever possible to earn more money. Police believe the long hours that she left Arva alone in charge of the infants created a rift between mother and daughter.
-Toledo Blade, March 18, 1989