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Officials investigate death of 3-year-old

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

PARMA - A 3-year-old child died when his home was engulfed in flames.

Freddie G. Akridge III, the son of Freddie G. Akridge II and Rebecca Mead, was pronounced dead at the scene of a trailer fire on North Broad Street in Parma, according to New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens. Stevens said when personnel arrived on the scene at about 3:30 p.m. Monday the trailer was fully engulfed in flames.

Stevens said the father was apparently asleep in the living room and discovered the fire when he awoke. He told officials the child's room was already in flames at that time.

After the fire was extinguished, the child's body was recovered from his bedroom, just off the living room.

"We feel like it was accidental," said Stevens about the cause of the blaze.

New Madrid County Coroner Jim McSpadden pronounced the child dead at the scene at 5:25 p.m.

In addition to the Sheriff's Department and the New Madrid County coroner, the Missouri State Fire Marshal was called in to investigate the fire.

An autopsy was conducted at Mineral Area Hospital in Farmington. McSpadden said he expects the results of the autopsy, which will determine the exact cause of the child's death, in about six weeks.

Also McSpadden has called a Child Death Review Panel to meet today. The panel is required by law to meet whenever a person under the age of 18 dies.

"We present the evidence, what people on the scene heard and saw to the panel," said McSpadden about the Child Death Review Panel. "The board will go over what happened, mainly to determine if anything could have been done to prevent the death."

Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Bernie is in charge of funeral arrangements for the child.