The “kids” were 17-month-old Andre Price III and 2-year-old Angel Price. The messages came from a phone belonging to their mother, 21-year-old Christian Clark.
They were sent to the children’s father.
On Wednesday, Clark was charged with killing Andre and attempting to kill Angel, the Associated Press reported.
“She was sending [messages] before the act, at the time of the act and following the act,” Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It began on Tuesday.
Clark and the children’s father, Andre Price Jr., sometimes lived together in McKeesport, Pa., a city outside Pittsburgh. The couple had been together earlier in the day, but Price had left for work at about 2:30 p.m.
The children were left in Clark’s care.
By 8:25 p.m., though, she wondered why Price hadn’t returned to the house. In a text message, she “accused Price of cheating on her with another woman,” police wrote in an affidavit obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The texts to Price grew more and more ominous throughout the night before becoming outright threatening. The Post-Gazette and the Associated Press obtained the transcript:
“Ya kids ain’t safe here I don’t want them here.”
“So you better pray for your kids.”
“Answer me or im going to jail for child endangerment.”
“Ima kill them watch.”
She further grew enraged, she told police during an interview, when “one of the children took a block, filled it with toilet water, and poured it on the floor.”
Price finally responded less than an hour later at 9:19 p.m., telling Clark that he wouldn’t be coming back to the house. He told her to let the kids be, but this only served to intensify the texts.
“Im killing them,” read a text to him, with an emoji of a face laughing so hysterically, tears are falling from the character’s eyes.
Then the messages took a horrible, gut-wrenching turn.
After Price told Clark, “I’ll get [off] the last bus for you okay,” he was again accused of cheating.
And then he received the first picture.
It showed 2-year-old Angel on the bed, a pillow covering her small face.
Then came the second photo: It showed 17-month-old Andre III lying facedown on an air mattress, his face buried in the comforter.
“I don’t love them,” the text said.
By this point, the Post-Gazette reported, Price had stopped responding.
Perhaps in an effort to get him to react, the messages grew ever more erratic and terrifying.
He began receiving videos, rather than words and pictures. One video showed the kids lying down on the bed. The next one showed Clark roughly grabbing her children, one by one. Angel began sobbing as Clark pulled on her head. Andre III, on the other hand, didn’t move at all. Instead, he just hung limply.
“First of all she is clearly fine, because watch, see she is not dead,” Clark said in the video. “Him on the other hand, he doesn’t budge. So you might want to call the ambulance.”
Minutes later, he received this text: “All cus you wanted to go [have sex with] her & come here when you like.”
This, finally, prompted Price to respond with, “I’m just not going to reply no more if you wanna go to jail you know what to do.”
To which came a text from Clark’s phone, “Lol guess he’ll be in here rotting away.”
At some point, Clark admitted to smothering Andre III by shoving his head into the air mattress for a full minute.
“Im sure it’ll hurt me one im sitting in jail & you got all the evidence you need to I can’t even say he suffocated in his sleep or say idk what happened,” a text told Price.
The texts ended at 11 p.m. The last ones came when Price told Clark to wake the child after he received a third video showing her throwing Andre III’s limp body onto the bed.
“It’s okay im dialing 911,” said a text from Clark’s phone.
“You need to if he dead,” Price texted.
“I am,” was the response, adding. “Sorry I did this … i didn’t mean to.”
At 11:13, Clark called 911 — something Price never did. An ambulance took both children to UPMC
McKeesport. Andre III was pronounced dead within a half-hour, the Post-Gazette reported. Angel seemed to be in fine physical health, police said.
“It just goes to show how texts have become such a routine part of our lives that people don’t even realize the nature of what they’re communicating,” McDonough told the AP.
No charges are expected to be leveled against Price, but the investigation is continuing, the AP reported.