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A Texas mother who reportedly tried to pin the death of her newborn baby on her 3-year-old son has been charged with murder after investigators found traces of cocaine in both her and the toddler's system.
On Jan. 14, police say Halle Murry, 25, brought her 6-week-old daughter Acelyn to a Fort Worth emergency room shortly after 1 p.m. The child had bruising to her forehead, was unconscious, and hospital staff discovered she had sustained a severe skull fracture. Hours later, the 6-week-old was pronounced dead, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Murry reportedly told hospital staff at Cook Children’s Medical Center that she had been “up for three days” and had fallen asleep with her baby on her chest. She awoke 20 minutes later, she said, and noticed Acelyn was missing. Murry told medical personnel she found her son, Andrew standing over the lifeless 6-week-old in an apartment bedroom, and said they were the only three people in the apartment, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Murry told doctors Andrew had a history of “too rough” with her daughter, the affidavit reports. She also reportedly told hospital staff that her son had a history of “hitting Acelyn with objects, [and] slapping, biting, kicking, and spitting.”
But Daniel Guzman, a pediatrician at the hospital, told police the girl’s injury was “one of the worst skull fractures he has ever seen.” He concluded, “There is no way a 3-year-old could have caused this amount of damage to the victim’s skull.” When Guzman informed the mother of the extent of the baby's injuries, police say Murry left the hospital and returned to her apartment — while her daughter was still clinging to life.
She later made statements to detectives that police say were inconsistent with what she initially told medical staff. Murry also admitted to police she was trying to get help for her son’s alleged behavior, but was having difficulty, according to the affidavit.
The circumstances surrounding what led to the newborn’s death are still unclear, but an autopsy later confirmed Acelyn had died from a skull fracture resulting from “multiple blows to the head.” Days later, Murry and her son allegedly both tested positive for cocaine following a Child Protective Services drug screening, according to Fort Worth police.
During their investigation, police failed to communicate and officially interview Murry’s son, Andrew. Instead, they placed the 3-year-old boy inside a room “with a play doll” that was similar in size and weight to a newborn baby. They reportedly observed the toddler being “both loving and aggressive with the doll.” But physicians later concluded, “Andrew did not demonstrate the dexterity or force to cause the extensive head injuries to Acelyn," according to the affidavit.
Earlier this month, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled Acelyn’s death a homicide as a result of head trauma. On April 27, Murry was arrested and charged with capital murder of a child under the age of 10.
The Texas mom is currently being held at Lon Evans Corrections Center on a $250,000 bond. Her next court appearance hasn’t yet been scheduled, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
Marissa Gonzales, a spokesperson for Child Protective Services, confirmed with Oxygen.com that Murry’s son has been placed in state custody and is being cared for by a relative.
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