CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - A 19-year-old woman is behind bars, and her 18-month-old daughter is dead.
On December 15th, paramedics responded to an unresponsive child at the Johnny S. Calderon Apartments in Robstown. The child was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died. The medical examiner determined the death a homicide.
Days later on December 21st, 19-year-old Chastity Herrera, the child's mother was arrested. Now, she's behind bars at the Nueces County Jail, facing charges of murder and injury to a child.
On Friday, family identified Herrera's daughter as Arabella Sanchez, her first and only daughter. According to Arabella's grandmother, Brenda Sanchez, the baby's father, Eziekiel Sanchez is incarcerated in another city.
Brenda said her son would likely be unable to attend the toddler's funeral.
Arabella's relatives held a barbeque benefit, to help with funeral costs, in the east side of Corpus Christi, while mourning a life taken too soon.
As the family picks up the pieces of this devastating tragedy, they're also searching for answers.
"Why? Why to her own child? Why her own grandbaby? If she couldn't take care of that child there was always other options," Brenda Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the Herrera didn't have custody of her baby for some time, but eventually got her back for six, short months.
"I never would of think that she would do that to her baby," Sanchez adds.
Brenda adds that the holidays will never be the same. They barely had time to mourn the loss of another family member on Mother's Day, earlier this year.
"It's just never gonna be the same," Brenda said.
Arabella's great-grandmother, Hilda Cabrialez said she's trying to find it in her heart to forgive Chastity, even though she allegedly took the life of her 32nd great-grandchild.
"I love Chastity don't get me wrong, but things happen in life, and we have to accept what's coming to us," Cabrialez said.
However, finding forgiveness doesn't take away how soon and tragic the toddler's life was taken.
"I'm devastated, heartbroken because I never expected this tragedy to happen," Hilda said. "A beautiful baby taken too soon, she had a whole life in front of her."
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