FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two 10 year-olds accused of threatening to kill a classmate, and then burn his body are in juvenile custody tonight. What is it that drives someone so young to go to such violent extremes? We spoke with Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist Dr. Omar Rieche.
Rieche says a lot of adult content in the media and online nowadays exposes children to situations they're not mature enough to handle. And if they're unfamiliar with conflict resolution, it can lead to tragedy.
"It's shocking," Rieche said. "It's shocking even for me, and I work in the field."
Wednesday, on the bus ride to Rayma C. Page Elementary, a 10 year-old girl reportedly told her ex-boyfriend she was going to stab him at school. The girl and her current boyfriend, who is also 10, told detectives the ex was making racist remarks about the new boyfriend.
The pair allegedly devised a plan to beat the ex-boyfriend unconscious, "shank" him, and then light him on fire. A detective later found two steak knives and two lighters in one of the suspects' back packs.
"We know by 10, most kids develop a sense of what's permanent. Death is permanent," Rieche said. "But they also have a poor sense of time altogether, so they may live much more in the moment."
More and more, Dr. Rieche sees children with aggression problems, and taking on adult roles, when emotionally, they are still immature. He feels situations like these are a reflection of our society and the role models children have.
"It's a shocking situation when you have two 10 year-olds who are planning to go this far, not just to retaliate, but to actually plan a specific way of torturing and killing another child," Rieche said.
While tragic, Dr. Reiche said this is a good opportunity for parents to help their children understand what was wrong with the situation, and the consequences that can follow.