A 24-year-old man from Florida, has been charged with third-degree murder and child neglect after allegedly suffocating his own child so he could play video games and watch TV. Cody Wygant’s 16-month-old son Daymeon had stopped breathing by the time emergency crews arrived Thursday morning. The child was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after. This is not the first death report resulting from a video games obsession.
Wygant later confessed to suffocating his child so he could play Xbox. Cody Wygant said he became frustrated when the toddler began to cry, distracting him from his video game. Investigators report that Wygant covered his son’s nose and mouth for three to four minutes, then placed him in a playpen and covered him with blankets which he tucked around the boy’s head. Wygant then continued to play video games and watch TV for the next five hours. By the time he checked on the boy, Daymeon had turned blue. The mother of the child was not home at the time of the murder, but she and Wygant also share a 3-month-old daughter who is currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Investigators say the baby in custody shows signs of previous abuse including a recently broken rib, and Lieutenant Brad Smith from the Citrus County Sherriff’s Office reported that the conditions of Wygant’s mobile home were “absolutely deplorable,” citing a massive roach infestation, and so much garbage in the home that they could barely walk through. Hazmat had to be called to the scene to perform an air-quality check before authorities could enter the home. Smith told reporters the child’s mother had tested positive for drugs, but could not confirm whether Wygant was under the influence when he suffocated his child. This is not the first case where obsessive video gaming was reportedly involved in the death of a child. Cody Wygant recently moved to Florida from California, where he served time in prison, and accrued a criminal record including several charges ranging from trespassing to sexual assault. The latest crime took place in Wygant’s mobile home, which he allegedly shared with four other adults and two children. Neighbors expressed their shock over the incident, saying they were in a state of disbelief.
In an equally tragic case, a South Korean father has recently been charged with neglect after letting his 2-year-old son starve to death while he played video games at an Internet café. The unemployed 22-year-old father identified as Chung, left his 2-year-old son at home alone for over a week, returning periodically every three days to feed the child. Investigators believe the child died on March 7, when Chung reported him missing. A piece of luggage containing the child’s body was found in a nearby garden, and further investigations led authorities to surveillance cameras, which revealed Chung carrying the bag containing his dead son out of the his apartment building. In 2010, a similarly horrifying crime was committed when a couple from Sewon neglected their 3-month-old daughter to raise a virtual child in a game called Prius Online. The couple’s video game obsession resulted in the death of their daughter. Suwon District Court gave the couple a two-year sentence, which was suspended for the mother who was expecting a second child. Currently South Korea’s conservative party is attempting to pass a law that would classify obsessive video gaming as a serious addiction on par with alcoholism and gambling addiction.
Commentary By Sandra Pugliese