Father of alleged Center baby killer: 'I can't see my daughter doing that'

Keilly Hoyt
Keilly Hoyt
Marlon Cartwright
Marlon Cartwright
Shakeitha Cartwright (Source: Center Police)
Shakeitha Cartwright (Source: Center Police)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A Center woman charged with capital murder in the death of her five-month-old daughter admitted to police that she shook her child and threw her into a child safety seat after losing her temper, according to an arrest affidavit.

Center Police arrested Shakeitha Cartwright, 29, Wednesday night. She is accused of killing her baby, Keilly Hoyt.

"I can't see my daughter doing that you know," Marlon Cartwright, Shakeitha's father, said. "Something had to go wrong, something bad go wrong because I can't see - something had to really go wrong in her head you know if she done it. I still don't believe it you know, but they say she just about admitted to it."

Cartwright waited at the Center Police Department for eight hours as detectives questioned his daughter. When the detectives came out and told him them the news, he was shocked.

"They came out about something to ten, the detective did, and she said, 'Uhh, well, we're going to charge her with murder," Cartwright said. "She said, "I'm going to write a warrant out and we're going to arrest her you know and charge her with murder.' She said really she admitted to it."

At the same time that he's trying to grasp the fact that his 5-month-old granddaughter is dead, Cartwright is also having to face the fact that his daughter has been charged with capital murder.

"We hope to try and get her some help because she needs help," Cartwright said. 'You know, she needs help."

The affidavit states police arrived at the home, located on the 1200 block of Shelbyville Street, and saw Cartwright on the front porch holding Keilly. EMS took Keilly to the Center hospital while police spoke to Cartwright.

According to the affidavit, Cartwright said she woke up with Keilly at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. She said she went to check on Keilly at 9:20 a.m., and saw her laying on her stomach in the bassinet.

EMS then called police and said the child had bruising which looked suspicious. An officer arrived at the hospital and saw the baby had a bruised left eye, multiple small puncture marks consistent with bite marks, signs of dehydration and bruises all over the body.

The officer reported seeing a large bruised area on the back of the child in the buttock area and wounds on both sides of Keilly's buttocks, as well as bruises on the soles of her feet.

An X-ray showed Keilly had multiple broken bones, including both femurs, both forearms, both shoulders and the jaw.

At the home, detectives searched the bedroom and found that the bassinet Keilly had been sleeping in appeared to have a vomit stain. The padding had some type of stain on it and was not covered by a fitted sheet. A detective found a fitted sheet in a pile of dirty clothes and saw a red stain on it which matched the stain on the padding. The detective also found several blankets and clothing which appeared to have blood stains.

Detectives later interviewed Cartwright, who admitted to losing her temper and picking up Keilly and shaking her, according to the affidavit. She also said she had picked Keilly up and forcibly threw her into the child safety seat in the living room, according to the affidavit. She also said she did not know how Keilly suffered the broken arms and legs. She did admit to biting Keilly on the feet, hitting her on the arms, slapping her in the mouth and squeezing her shoulders together, according to the affidavit.

Officials have removed three children living in Cartwright's home.

Shari Pulliam, the spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said a hearing within 14 days will determine what to do with the children next. For now, they are in foster care.

Pulliam said an 11-year-old girl, nine-year-old girl and an 18-month-old boy also lived in the home on the 1200 block of Shelbyville Street.

Pulliam said there has been no history of abuse reported to CPS before Wednesday.

Cartwright said he won't get to see his daughter until Sunday, when he will be allowed a 15-minute visit with her. He hopes to get some clarity and light shed on what seems to be a horrible dream.

"it's just hard to believe, you know, it's just hard to believe," Cartwright said. "All we can do now is pray. It's all we can do."

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