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Inhuman to the Point of Microwaving Her Own Daughter: The Story of China Arnold

Turbulent Childhood

China Arnold was 25 years old and lived in Dayton, Ohio. Her childhood was quite tumultuous; her parents were drug users with various financial problems. The family was well-known in the neighborhood due to the trouble China caused both on the streets and at school. She was never a good student, consistently getting into problems; her grades were low, and over time, even her attendance suffered. Due to her turbulent childhood, it didn’t take long for China to become involved in the world of crime.

China Arnold

Work and Criminality: China’s Entry into the World of Crime

From a young age, China worked to help her parents with household expenses. While many of her jobs were legalized, they all had underlying criminal aspects, and she didn’t hesitate to engage in them. China claimed that these were the roles that paid the most, making them worthwhile. She was arrested several times for these criminal activities, with the worst incidents occurring in 2000 when she was convicted of kidnapping and in 2002 when she was convicted of forgery.

Despite being convicted of two serious crimes, for some reason, China didn’t stay in prison for long and regained her freedom in 2002.

Troubled Relationship: China’s Story with Terrell Talley

Sometime later that year, China met Terrell Talley, a troubled young man involved in illegal activities. Like everything else in China’s life, the couple’s relationship was also tumultuous, with constant arguments. After three years of dating and due to a lapse on the couple’s part, China became pregnant with their first daughter. However, Terrell already had a child with another woman and shared custody with his ex-wife.

The Tragedy of August 29, 2005: A Park Stroll that Changed Everything

On August 29, 2005, when the couple’s daughter, named Paris, was only 28 days old, they decided to take a stroll in the park, leaving the child with Terrell’s sister, Lionda, for some alone time. They bought some drinks and sat down to talk. Initially, everything was going well, they were getting along, but the more they drank, the more the conversation turned into an argument. Terrell began to question if Paris was truly his daughter, as there were rumors that China was seeing Terrell’s colleague.

China became irritated and confirmed that the daughter was indeed Terrell’s, but the couple’s alcohol level was too high, and they could only argue. Terrell, extremely upset about this rumor, ended up assaulting China. They returned home still arguing along the way, until Terrell confessed to sleeping with the neighbor and described how enjoyable it was. China went home, while Terrell left without direction.

China Arnold

The Tragic Discovery: The Mysterious Death of Daughter Paris

It was late at night when Terrell returned home and found China and their daughter sleeping in the living room. He went to bed, and the next day when he woke up, he went to play with the baby but noticed that she was cold, rigid, and had some burn marks on her body. So, at 7:15 am on August 30, 2005, Terrell and China took their infant to the children’s hospital as she was no longer breathing. The medical team tried to resuscitate the newborn, but they were unsuccessful; she was already lifeless.

The doctor in charge of attending to Paris noticed that the child had burns on her face, body, and limbs and questioned the parents. Terrell was desperate and couldn’t explain what had happened. China also seemed surprised but not as much as Terrell and claimed not to know what could have happened. The doctor immediately called the administration, suspecting the child’s mother could be involved.

Police Investigation: Clues Point to the Microwave

The police were called, and China was arrested. Detectives went to the couple’s house to find something that could explain what had happened to the child. In the bathroom, they saw that the bathtub had very dark water, and there was a wet towel with something very dark as well, which they couldn’t identify. A few days later, Paris’s autopsy was ready, and the cause of death was determined to be overheating.

The newborn’s body had reached 50 degrees Celsius, and the internal organs were “cooked.” Searching China’s house for something that could cause that to the baby, the police concluded it could only be the microwave.

Simulation of Paris in the Microwave during China’s trial

The Long Judicial Process: Imprisonment, Freedom, and Trials

The legal process against China was lengthy; she was arrested, then released to await trial and arrested again in 2006. She went through three trials, with the first one taking place in February 2008 but being annulled because, at the time, Terrell’s 5-year-old son claimed to have seen a neighbor putting Paris in the microwave. China’s trial was canceled to verify this information, but it was eventually confirmed that the 5-year-old boy wasn’t at China’s house on the day of the crime, so he couldn’t have seen anything.

The second trial took place in September 2008. According to the prosecution’s version, on that night, China was angry about the fight with her boyfriend and decided to get revenge using her daughter, as she also wasn’t sure about the paternity. She put the daughter in the microwave, left it for 2 minutes, and then took her out. To conceal the burns on the skin, she took Paris to the bathtub and cleaned her skin with water and a towel, which is why they were dirty and dark.

She put the daughter in the car seat and went to sleep peacefully, pretending nothing had happened. China was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial was annulled due to legal issues presented by the defense. A new trial took place in 2011, and this time, in addition to all the previous evidence, the prosecution also obtained a confession from China.

Case Turnaround: China Arnold’s Confession

While awaiting trial, China was in prison sharing a cell with Linda Williams. In a short time, they became close, started a relationship, and began to share various personal details with each other. In one of these conversations, China admitted to Linda that she had been afraid her boyfriend would find out that Paris wasn’t his daughter, so she decided to put the girl in the microwave.

Linda was horrified by what she had heard and asked to speak to the case investigators. She told them about what she had just heard, and the police asked her to record China’s confession, so she did. She returned to the cell with a recorder and asked for more details. China recounted what had happened again and even added that the microwave seemed to have been custom-made for the daughter.

China Arnold

Definitive Conviction: China Arnold Receives a Life Sentence

China also underwent two psychological evaluations to rule out any psychological issues that could have led her to commit the crime. Doctors found that China had mild depression, but nothing beyond that justified the crime. Once again, China was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and remains incarcerated to this day with this being her definitive sentence.

Throughout the process, a DNA test was also conducted, confirming that Paris was Terrell’s biological daughter.

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