CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - This article was originally published by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Chasity Herrera left her injury-riddled daughter unattended in her bed for about 17 hours without any adult supervision, an arrest affidavit states.
The document reveals that 18-month-old Arabella Nicole Sanchez, who police believe was killed by her 19-year-old mother, had injuries all over her body.
Arabella had a broken right tibia, bruising to the liver and several organs. She had a bruised heart and petechiae to the heart which was caused from shock, the affidavit states.
She also had bleeding under the scalp and brain. The scalp was completely bruised and she had skull fractures that wrapped from the back of the head to the right temple side and hemorrhaging to the eyes, the document states.
The Nueces County Medical Examiner's office reported that her death was caused by blunt force trauma "as if the victim was slammed against something three or four times and did not appear to be continuous abuse."
On Dec. 15, Robstown Police officers responded to an unresponsive 18-month-old girl at an apartment community in the 500 block of Pat Shutter Street.
When officers arrived about 3:48 p.m., Chasity Herrera was sitting on a couch, holding her daughter and yelling that she wasn't breathing.
As the officer placed the girl on a rug on the floor to conduct chest compression, her body felt cold. The officer didn't feel a pulse and she was not breathing.
While performing chest compression, the officer saw redness and slight swelling and scratches around the girl's eyes and nose. The officer smelled "a strong odor of feces coming from her body" and noticed dried vomit under her mouth and on her shirt, the document states.
When asked, Herrera could not explain the visible injuries to police.
She told police "she could have fell" since there was a bike in her room.
The toddler was rushed to Corpus Christi Medical Center-Northwest for treatment but was pronounced dead a short time later at about 4:10 p.m.
Police took Chasity and her boyfriend to a room where they told them Arabella had died. Chasity began to scream, the document reads.
As the apartment was secured and processed for evidence, burnt marijuana cigarettes, smoking bongs and prescription medications were found. The toddler's bed sheets and pillows had vomit on them.
An emergency room supervisor assessed the toddler and found swelling behind both of her ears and severe bruising and swelling to the right side of her head. The supervisor said Sanchez had dried vomit on her lips, mouth, neck area and in her hair. Her fingernails were long and dirty and her left toenail was bloody. Dirt and a long hair were also found around her vaginal area.
Herrera told police the last time she saw her daughter responsive was the night before at about 10 p.m. and she had not been awake at all on Dec. 15.
Police interviewed her boyfriend and grandmother.
Herrera's boyfriend told police he left for work on Dec.14, went to a friend's house after work and returned home at 3 a.m. the next day. He stated that he did not enter the home until 5 a.m. because he was talking outside to a friend. He told police he didn't go into Arabella's room because she was asleep and didn't want to wake her. He then fell asleep in the room where Herrera was. He told police he doesn't do drugs, but Herrera smokes marijuana five to six times a day and he's been trying to get her off of it.
He told police they had a rodent problem in the home for which he put medicine in the corners of the rooms, until Arabella got a chemical burn on her eye from the medicine. He also said he does not discipline Arabella.
Herrera's grandmother told police she arrived at Herrera's apartment about 1 or 2 p.m. to find Herrera getting ready. She stated she was going to go get Arabella dressed, but couldn't cross the baby gate that was in place at the door. Herrera then went to get Arabella and came out screaming, her grandmother said. She said Arabella was cold and limp. She told police they don't mistreat the toddler and said they have been taking Sanchez to the doctor for her eye and scabies.
Herrera told police she put her daughter to sleep about 10 p.m. and took a Seroquel, an antipsychotic medicine, to fall asleep.
She stated that she bathed Arabella and brushed her hair before putting her to bed. She told police Arabella would often wake up in the middle of the night and walk up to the baby gate and then she would put her back to sleep, but she didn't that night. She told police she didn't know if the victim got up during the night because she fell asleep.
Herrera said she woke up at 5 a.m. to talk to her dad on the phone. She walked to the restroom and saw Arabella was asleep so went back to bed. She told police she was lacking sleep and overslept because she was tired. Herrera said she woke up about 1 p.m. and saw that Arabella was still asleep. She told police Arabella was up all night, so she let her sleep.
When her grandmother arrived, she said she went to get Arabella ready and felt that she was cold. She told police she told her grandmother to call an ambulance.
She told police she doesn't know what happened. "She does not know how the victim got the scratch marks, purple on her neck and injury to the side of her face."
When asked, she told police she did not hurt her daughter.
Herrera told police she takes medication for depression, insomnia and ADHD which help her sleep through the night.
She told police her relationship with her boyfriend started when her daughter was 2 months old.
"There has been physical violence, but the victim has never been around," the document states.
The boyfriend was interviewed for a second time and gave the same statement to police, but added that he stayed up on his phone and then fell asleep.
He told police he's never seen Herrera injure or be aggressive toward Arabella .
"He has seen Chasity get frustrated, but not to the point of hurting the victim. Whenever he gets frustrated with the victim, he gives her to Chasity," the document reads.
Both Herrera and her boyfriend agreed to take a polygraph test, but the boyfriend did not show up and Herrera was unable to take the test.
According to the document, Herrera was unable to take the text because she was not mentally or physically capable.
After the preliminary report from the medical examiner, police ruled the case a homicide and issued two arrest warrants for Herrera.
Herrera was arrested on Dec. 21 with charges of suspicion of murder and suspicion of injury to a child. Her bail was set at $1 million.
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