Video has been released of the moments leading up to the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy at a US airport, as his mother fights child neglect charges related to the incident.
Jaiden Cowart was playing with his two siblings at the escalator near baggage claim at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina, as their mother tried to arrange a ride home.
Footage shows Jaiden and his sister playing when she grabs the outside of the moving rail. As she is carried upwards she picks Jaiden up and they both continue upwards.
A painting contractor saw the drama unfolding and rushed to help the pair. He was able to catch Jaiden's sister but tragically did not reach Jaiden in time and the boy fell 6m to the ground.
An airport worker wrote in a subsequent report that Jaiden suffered "major trauma to the head", reports ABC News.
He was rushed to hospital where he died three days later.
Police charged his mother, Jiterria Lightner, with three counts of child neglect after the September 25 incident, saying that she was nowhere to be seen on the video and "allowed substantial risk of physical injury...by allowing the child to play, unsupervised, on an airport escalator."
Lightner's attorney Michael Greene told WSOC news that his client was not guilty.
"They went from saying this is an accident, now saying that you've committed a crime," he said.
"She was caring for a 4, 3 and 2-year-old and trying to arrange a ride from the airport. I'm here saying she's not guilty of misdemeanour child abuse."
"'This is one of those incidents that could've happened to any one of the members of this community, and, unfortunately, the decision came down to charge her with a crime."