A New Mexico father is accused of beating his 5-year-old daughter to death because she refused to do her homework.
The young girl was covered in bruises all over her body, from her neck to her buttocks, authorities say.
Brandon Reynolds, 36, was charged with child abuse resulting in death after he told investigators he starting spanking the girl and then “blacked out,” according to a complaint obtained by KOAT.
One of Reynold’s neighbors told police she heard someone shouting “Get up!” followed by the sound of someone or something being hit.
Reynolds later called 911 to report that his daughter, Sarah Dubois-Gilbeau, had gone into cardiac arrest. But when emergency responders arrived at the scene, a firefighter noticed “a large amount” of bruising on the girl, who was unconscious and had stopped breathing, and contacted police, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
The family’s neighbors told the local paper that Reynolds had recently started home-schooling the girl and was “very strict” with her.
Reynolds allegedly told police he started to hit his daughter with a green water shoe around 8:30 p.m. when she refused to do her school work.
Police said he told them he hit her “all over her body” until “she wasn’t mobile.” After she stopped moving, he didn’t call police for hours and instead put an ice pack on her back and put her in bed where he listened to her heart beat. He later called 911 around 1 a.m. when he realized the heart beat was getting faint.
Police Chief Michael Geier called the death a “heartbreaking tragedy” at a news conference on Friday.
“Our officers and detectives are working diligently at this time to bring justice to this little girl,” he said.
The girl’s mother Chantel DuBois has said the 5-year-old girl had autism, local news station KOB reports.
“Her dad refused to accept that she was autistic,” she said.
According to court records obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, Reynolds had full custody of his daughter after her mother, who at that time was identified as Chantel Smith, tested positive for THC when the girl was born and again later while breastfeeding.
Smith alleged in custody paperwork that Reynolds had PTSD that caused him “not to be able to handle or care for a child properly.”
Neighbors remember the 5-year-old as a “little angel” who loved to paint her nails and do her hair.
“I loved her a lot. She didn’t deserve this,” one neighbor told KOAT.
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