Nacogdoches Co. woman charged in toddler death

Joy Yates mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Joy Yates mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Anthony Roberts mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Anthony Roberts mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Kaylen Broumley
Kaylen Broumley

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches County woman has been charged in her three-year-old daughter's death.

Joy Fay Yates, 24, was previously cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of her daughter, Kaylen Broumley. Her then-boyfriend, Anthony Roberts, 38, of Laneville, was charged last year with capital murder.

However, Sheriff Thomas Kerss said prosecutors had received enough evidence to charge Yates with injury to a child.

Kerss said the initial plan was to send the Yates case to the grand jury, but that Yates learned about the possible charge and applied for a passport.

"We got word that was she was at the Nacogdoches District Clerk's office to travel international," said District Attorney Nicole LoStracco. "We immediately contacted the Texas Attorney General's office. After that, both agencies agreed it was time to get a warrant for her arrest."

Nacogdoches County Deputy Constable Rusty Allen arrested Yates on FM 2259 in Woden.

"It feels good to be able to get her off the streets," said Allen.  "If she's guilty, then she needs to be punished for it.  Any crimes involving small children, they're innocent, sometimes we're the only help they have."

Roberts pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of injury to a child in July and agreed to a 12-year prison sentence.

Kerss said his understanding was that part of Roberts' plea agreement was that he cooperate in the criminal investigation of Yates. He said he thought Yates learned that information and tried to flee the country.

At the time of the child's death Child Protective Services was investigating a child abuse complaint against the child's mother filed two months earlier.  Kerss said his office had questioned Yates, and afterwards said he was satisfied that she did not cause the death of her child.  He said Yates was only a witness and not a suspect.

An arrest affidavit for Roberts said Yates told investigators that Roberts, her live-in boyfriend at the time, had delayed her from seeking medical attention for her daughter for several hours.  An autopsy revealed Kaylen died from a severe head injury.  Doctors also found multiple bruises and scars over the child's face and body.

Yates' arrest affidavit stated Yates and Roberts made up a story that Kaylen had fallen off a horse. An investigation revealed she had been beaten and shook.

The State Attorney General's Office is handling the prosecution, due to a conflict between LoStracco and people surrounding the case when LoStracco was in private practice.

LoStracco said the Attorney General's office will be in Nacogdoches Friday to present Yates' case to a Nacogdoches County grand jury.

Yates is in the Nacogdoches County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Child advocates said the second arrest means another chance to learn more about Kaylen's violent death.

"We're very happy to be a part of a town that takes child abuse seriously and is going to explore every avenue of what might have happened," said Executive Director of CASA Nacogdoches Rebecca Carlton.

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