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San Antonio mom charged with child abuse after 6-year-old dies of several illnesses, affidavit says

The 6-year-old was a week shy of her seventh birthday but only weighed 31 pounds, the affidavit said.

SAN ANTONIO — People who live in the 100 block of Ferris in east San Antonio were shocked to learn that one of their neighbors has just been arrested and charged with Injury to a Child, after a malnourished little girl died in the home.

Samantha Jimenez was about to turn seven last October when paramedics found her unresponsive in the home she shared with five siblings and her mother.

An arrest affidavit in the case said 38-year-old Stephanie Jimenez told investigators her daughter was injured in a fall, but the medical examiner said the child's condition was much more dire.

After an autopsy, the medical examiner ruled Samantha's death a homicide, saying she died of neglect and malnutrition.

The affidavit details how the child was small and thin for her age and that she was also suffering from kidney failure, pneumonia and COVID. The report says she was also infested with head lice and it was obvious that she hadn't been kept clean.

The report points out the other children in the home and the mother all appeared to be in good health, and that the mother told investigators Samantha had not received any medical care for one to two years.

Credit: KENS 5
A six-year-old girl died in this home in October. Her mother is now jailed in connection with her death.

Neighbors said they recall seeing a large commotion at the home last October when the girl died, but when they asked what was happening, they were told there had been some sort of domestic disturbance. They said until police showed up to arrest Jimenez Tuesday evening, they had no idea anything was amiss in the modest rental home.

Jeremy Bernal lives a few doors down. The father of three said he was badly shaken by the news of the death.

"I feel bad. I feel horrible, knowing I could have done something. Something could have been done, just knowing it's only a few houses away," Bernal said adding "I know what's it's like to have kids and I love my kids and I would go to the end of the world for my kids."

Bernal said the thought that the child wasted away over a period of time, and was suffering, is hard to take.

"It's just horrible that she had to go something like that, experience so much trauma. Stress. Anxiety. Worrying. Trying to keep faith and hope. It's a very horrific story. Very unfortunate," Bernal said.

Bernal said he hopes people remember the little girl and lift her name up in prayer.

"I hope that the world knows her name, at least, that people could pray for her. That's her name, Samantha. I will pray for Samantha," Bernal said, adding that tonight he won't take his family for granted "I will hug my kids tighter and hold them closer to my heart."

A spokesman for Child Protective Services said other children in the home have been in state care since the death.

Neighbors said they believe other adults either lived in or had access to the house. They wondered aloud if anyone else would be charged in connection with the girl's death. Investigators haven't released any information, beyond what was in the court paperwork.

Online court records indicate Jimenez was already serving a probated sentence for a previous child injury case that dates back to 2012. Online records indicate Jimenez was given a ten year probated sentence back in 2014 for a case that involved a different child.

Jimenez is being held on a $200,000 bond.

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