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A Texas couple has been charged with the murder of an 8-year-old girl who died this summer after authorities say she was deprived her of water and forced her to jump on a trampoline in sweltering heat.
Daniel Schwarz, 44, and Ashley Schwarz, 34, have been charged with felony murder, Odessa police said Monday.
On Aug. 29, authorities were dispatched to the 4300 block of Locust Avenue in Odessa, Texas for a medical emergency. After arriving, police discovered an 8-year-old girl, named Jaylin, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The young child had been “punished” by the Schwarzes shortly before her death, authorities said. That morning, she had allegedly been denied breakfast and then was forced by the couple to jump on the family’s trampoline in scorching temperatures.
Daniel and Ashley also barred the girl from drinking any water “because she wasn’t jumping,” law enforcement said. Authorities said they recorded a ground temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit on the day of the child’s death; the trampoline's temperature was recorded at 110 degrees. An autopsy later revealed the child had died from dehydration. Her manner of death was ruled a homicide.
The Schwarzes were later booked into the Ector County Law Enforcement Center. It’s unclear if the couple have secured a lawyer.
Daniel and Ashley are the 8-year-old’s legal guardians but are not her biological parents, according to local television station KOSA-TV.
“Time has stood still for me since the day you drew your last breath and I continue to struggle everyday to catch mine,” the child’s biological mother, Alysha Anderton, wrote on social media.
Prior to Jaylin’s death, Anderton had been wrapped up in a custody battle with the Schwarzes, who also have custody of the girl’s sister, court records show, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Anderton described her daughter as a “beautiful” girl who was “loved by so many,” in a series of Facebook posts mourning her death.
“Never getting to hear you call me Momma again,” she added. “Never getting to hear you say those 3 words that would make me fall apart with happiness. I'm so sorry this has happened to you babygirl. I should have never had to bury you.”
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