LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Police officers arrested a 41-year-old woman on a felony injury to a child charge after her step-daughter's aunt allegedly noticed the child had welts all over her body.
Shronda Lynn Murphy, of Lufkin, was booked into the Angelina County Jail on a third-degree felony injury to a child charge on Friday. She posted a collective bail of $8,000 and was released from the jail on Sunday.
According to the arrest affidavit, the Lufkin Daily News obtained Monday, a Lufkin Police officer was dispatched to a residence in the 400 block of Holland Street on April 7 in reference to a possible assault of a child. The woman allegedly told the LPD officer that she had seen her niece, a child under the age of 14, playing in a yard on Keltys Street and that she had been covered in welts.
The woman told the officer that she did not know where her niece lived other than the fact that it was a peach-colored house on Hosea Dolphus Street, but she gave the officer the names of the girl's parents.
The officer went to Hosea Dolphus Street, but he couldn't find anyone that knew the child or her parents. The next day, the LPD officer went to Garrett Primary to talk to the little girl.
When the officer asked the little girl if he could see her back, he noticed injuries across her back that were consistent with a belt being used when she lifted her shirt. After the LPD officer asked the little girl what had happened, she was quiet for a while.
Eventually, the girl told the officer that her step-mother had whipped her with a belt. The school nurse, who was present when the officer talked to the girl, said she would go back to the girl's classroom to talk to the teacher to see if anything had happened in class the day before.
The teacher told the nurse that Murphy had picked the girl up from school that day and had asked about the girl's behavior.
The LPD officer contacted Child Protective Services about the incident and got contact information for the child's mother. When the officer talked to the girl's mother, she explained that she had not seen her daughter since the previous weekend because her daughter stays with her mother, the child's grandmother, during the school week.
According to the affidavit, when the girl's mother was shown the pictures of the child's injuries, she started to cry.
A short time later, Murphy arrived on the scene with the little girl. The LPD officer asked Murphy about the girl's injuries, and she said she had noticed scratches on her step-daughter's arm, but she had not seen the injuries to her back. Murphy allegedly denied laying a hand on the child.
On May 5, the little girl was taken to Harold's House for a forensic interview. When asked, the girl confirmed that Murphy had been mad at her because she had been bad at school. The girl told the interviewer and the LPD detective that Murphy had struck her several times across the back, the affidavit stated.