Parents of 2-Year-Old Who Froze to Death Sentenced to Prison

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 27, 2019US News
Parents of 2-Year-Old Who Froze to Death Sentenced to Prison
Dariaun Parker, 24, and Tierra Williams, 22, were sentenced to two years and 18 months in prison, respectively, on Jan. 25, 2019, for their roles in their 2-year-old daughter Wynter Parker freezing to death in February 2018. (Akron Police Department)

The parents of a 2-year-old Ohio girl who froze to death after being left out in the cold were sentenced to prison time.

Tierra Williams, 22, and Dariaun Parker, 24, previously pleaded guilty to child endangerment and were sentenced on Jan. 25.

Williams was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Parker was sentenced to two years in prison; they each faced maximum sentences of three years in prison, reported Fox 8.

Wynter Parker, the couple’s daughter, wandered outside and accidentally locked herself out from their house in Akron. Parker was supposed to be watching her but he fell asleep.

Williams found her daughter’s body when she returned home several hours later and called 911.

The child died after paramedics rushed her to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Wynter died from severe hypothermia.

wynter parker
Wynter Parker, 2, froze to death in February 2018 outside her house in Akron, Ohio. (Wynter’s Funeral Fund/GoFundMe)

Reaction to Sentencing

Williams was incensed when she learned that she and Parker would be going to jail.

“That is so [expletive] up,” she shouted as she was handcuffed, reported the Akron Beacon Journal.

Angela Williams, her mother, tried to calm her down.

“I’m so [expletive] mad!” Tierra Williams added.

Both Williams and Parker were hoping to avoid jail time as their lawyers highlighted their lack of criminal records. Angela Williams begged the judge to give her daughter probation, noting that it would “pull apart” the family if she was sentenced to jail.

“We need to heal as a family and not be pulled apart with her being gone from her kids and her family,” Angela Williams said.

But Assistant Prosecutor Dan Sallerson said that police officers had been to the couple’s apartment before because of their children being left outside.

“This is a dangerous situation that didn’t need to happen,” he said. “It shouldn’t have come to that. We do have a young child who died as a result. We do think prison is the appropriate sentence.”

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty said that the couple didn’t prioritize being parents and said they were responsible for the death.

“There can be potential danger everywhere,” she said. “You two did not have eyes on. Not a lack of love, a lack of attention. Not all of the time, but some of the time, which put both of the children at risk.”

She said that she would consider releasing them early.

police officer bundles up against the cold
A New York Police Department officer bundles up against the cold temperature as he walks in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, on Dec. 28, 2017. (Amr Alfiky/Reuters)


Freezing to death is known as hypothermia, or a preventable lowering of the core body temperature to lower than 95 degrees (normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypothermia causes approximately 600 deaths each year in the United States.

“Exposure to excessive cold (or excessive exposure to cold) slows enzymatic activity throughout the body, leading to potentially fatal rhabdomyolysis, coagulopathy, renal failure, and dysrhythmias. Alcohol intake, activity level, and type of clothing are among the modifiable factors associated with hypothermia,” the agency stated.

“In the United States, certain populations (e.g., alcoholics; drug users; the elderly, homeless, and chronically ill persons; and those with pre-existing heart disease) are at increased risk for dying from hypothermia,” it continued.

The Mayo Clinic notes that hypothermia can be caused by exposure to cold weather but can also happen when someone is immersed in cold water.

“When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system, and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually to death,” it stated.

The main treatment is using different methods to warm to the body back to a normal temperature, including removing wet clothing and sitting near a fire or heater.

Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, slow breathing, confusion, bright and red skin, and a weak pulse. People with hypothermia generally aren’t aware of their condition because the symptoms begin gradually.

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