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Mother charged after 8-year-old girl killed by train

FRESNO, Calif. – Police arrested a California mother after a train dragged her 8-year-old daughter Monday, killing her.

Joy Frances Collins, 44, has been charged with child neglect likely to cause great bodily injury or death and trespassing, according to Central Valley Today.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a press conference Thursday that Collins, her 9-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter were trying to get to a bus stop around 6 p.m. when a mile-long train blocked their route.

The train slowed and eventually stopped. Dyer said that – just seconds after the train came to a halt – Collins told the children that they had to hurry or they would miss the bus, according to a witness.

“The mother then told the 9-year-old son to cross the railroad track,” Dyer said. “The son then crawled underneath one of the rail cars to get over to the west side.”

Dyer said Collins then told her daughter, identified by the paper as Joyanna Harris, to follow, but the girl was reluctant at first.

“Upon being encouraged to cross the track, she, too, made her way underneath the rail car and attempted to get to the other side,” Dyer said.

It was then that the train lurched forward, Dyer said, leaving the girl lodged under the car.

“That child was pulled or dragged on the railroad for approximately 500 feet,” Dyer said.

Collins ran alongside the train and finally pulled her daughter’s severely injured body from underneath the train.

Dyer said the girl was critically injured and partially dismembered. Joyanna Harris was pronounced dead at the scene, according to The Fresno Bee.

“A mother placed her daughter in a position where she could be seriously injured or killed, and that’s what we have to look at,” Dyer said. “We have a responsibility to hold that person accountable.”

Collins was booked into the Fresno County Jail Monday night.