Angelina County grand jury indicts man accused in death of 1-year-old girl

Angelina County grand jury indicts man accused in death of 1-year-old girl
Israel Cole (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Israel Cole (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County grand jury has indicted a 33-year-old Nacogdoches man who is accused I the death of a 1-year-old girl who suffered multiple skull fractures.

Taurus Roshawn Arnold is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a capital murder of a person under the age of 6 charge and a Class C misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia charge. No bail amount has been set for the capital murder charge.

The Angelina County grand jury indicted Arnold for capital murder and two counts of injury to a child.

According to the affidavit, police were dispatched to Woodland Heights Hospital on June 14 at 12:26 p.m. A LPD officer learned Unity Mitchell had arrived at 11:08 a.m., and she did not have a pulse and was placed on a ventilator.

A nurse told police that Unity had multiple skull fractures and was bleeding on the brain.

Detectives interviewed the mother in a room near the lobby and reported that she said Arnold, her boyfriend, had been taking care of Unity when she stopped breathing.

Officers then interviewed Arnold and learned he had outstanding warrants. When they told him he was under arrest, he claimed a different name and date of birth. However, police were able to confirm his real identity and placed him under arrest, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Arnold also claimed to be retired from the Navy and that he had raised Unity since birth and that he had a different child with his girlfriend. It was discovered later that Arnold had lied about raising the child and about being a father to the other child.

Arnold also said he took his girlfriend to work in Corrigan, and he kept the truck and children. However, on the way back, he said the truck broke down in Diboll, and he had to have it towed. He said he then called his cousin to come pick him and the children up, and they went to his girlfriend's aunt's apartment. However, he could not remember her name or address, according to the affidavit. He said he and another man then left the children at the apartment to get a battery terminal for the truck.

He said when he returned to the apartment, the aunt had just finished feeding Unity when he arrived. He said later that day, Unity started throwing up, according to the affidavit.

He said the next day he estimated Unity threw up two more times that day.

On the third day, he said he was watching the children, and around 9 a.m., Unity started throwing up again. He said he held her over the side of the couch and allowed her to finish throwing up, according to the affidavit.

He said he then went to get a towel and noticed she was not breathing. He then called his girlfriend's aunt, and she came over and they called 911, according to the affidavit.

Arnold said he did not ever clean up the vomit, according to the affidavit.

Police then interviewed the mother, who said Unity had thrown up those first two days like Arnold had said. She said she left for work on the third day and Unity seemed fine. She said she had called at 10:04 a.m. to check on the children and Arnold said everything was fine. She said at 10:40 a.m., Arnold said there was something wrong with Unity and she needed to come home, according to the affidavit.

Police then searched the home and found a towel, which was clean and did not find any evidence of vomit on the floor or furniture.

During the time of the investigation, the infant was transported to a Houston area hospital where a doctor analyzed the child's injuries and determined, "the absence of a history of trauma indicates that she was physically abused by a person with strength and coordination of an adult."

The doctor further said the trauma can only be explained through "extreme force."

The affidavit concludes Arnold lied about his name and date of birth, that he had lied about raising Unity from birth, being the other girl's father, and the time frame he and his girlfriend had been together. He also lied about the truck breaking down in Diboll and someone helping him with the truck. It says he also lied about being in the Navy and Unity throwing up on the couch and floor.

The affidavit also states Unity suffered an injury to her cheek area a short time before the pictures were taken at the hospital, and Arnold was the only adult present when it happened.

In an unrelated case, the Angelina County grand jury also indicted Israel Lee Cole, 40, of Lufkin, for indecency with a child by sexual contact, a second-degree felony in connection to allegations that he molested an 11-year-old girl back in June.

Cole is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on the indecency charge. a third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance less than 1gram charge, and a third-degree felony capias warrant for a possession of a controlled substance between 1 and 4 grams charge. His bail has been set at $25,000 for the possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram charge.

According to the arrest affidavit, the girl's mother made the outcry to the Huntington Police Department. She told the police officer who took the report that her daughter was molested at a home in the 700 block of Gibson Street in Huntington.

The victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center in Center. A San Augustine County Sheriff's Office deputy was present for the forensic interview. The girl told the interviewer that Cole molested her by touching her privates.

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