Friends In Shock About Charges In Marion Toddler's Death (with Video)

By Corinne Rose

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 10:10 AM EDT

MARION, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Friends of a Marion man charged in the death of a little girl say they don't think he's responsible.

Questions also remain about how the toddler died.

Two year old Arianna Carmack was found dead in her Marion mobile home.

The little girl's face, chest and back were burned in what the Grant County coroner called a flash burn from some sort of chemical.

A statement from the coroner says the burns did not kill Arianna, but did contribute to her death. How she died is still unknown.

Her mother's boyfriend, 27-year old Donald Riddle, lived with them and is charged with neglect of a dependant resulting in death.

Two men who were Riddle's classmates and spent part of the day arianna died with him say everything seemed normal and they can't understand what might have happened.

"It was probably noon-ish, one o'clock that day when the child passed. He acted fine, no problems, he hung out for a little while, watched a movie. And then he left and that was the last time we seen him. And then that happened and then it shocked everyone around here," says Justin Heiny.

Jason Hester says, "Me and my girlfriend had to go down to the police station and talk to them about it the other day. I just told them pretty much what I'm telling you, I don't know anything. They came here on Sunday before it happened and all the kids were acting fine, nothing unusual or anything. They was playing."

The men said when they saw Arianna the Sunday before she died, she looked healthy and happy, and was clean with brushed hair.

The Grant County coroner has not responded to numerous requests for more information or an interview.

Sources say he has ordered a battery of tests on the girl's remains, including whether she had drugs in her system or was over-medicated, whether she was sexually assaulted, and what type of chemical was on her skin.

We could know more by the middle of the week.




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