CROCKETT, Texas (KTRE) - Crockett police officers traveled to the Houston area Tuesday and arrested a man and a woman on capital murder charges in connection with the Oct. 4 death of their 2-month-old baby boy.
The child suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple broken bones, and internal injuries, according to a press release from the Crockett Police Department.
Natayia Kamari Thomas, 22, and Ashton Derione Sessum, 23, both of Houston, were both arrested and charged with capital murder of a child under the age of 10. Both arrest warrants had pre-set bond amounts of $1 million.
According to the press release, the Crockett Police Department was notified on Sept. 30 that a vehicle was headed to the Crockett Medical Center with an unresponsive 2-month-old baby. The Crockett PD officers met with Houston County EMS and medical staff.
The doctors and medical staff at the hospital were able to resuscitate the baby boy, but because he was still in critical condition, doctors at Crockett Medical Center decided to transfer the child to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
“It was reported to Crockett Police Department that the infant was likely a victim of abuse and would likely not survive,” the press release stated. “Child Protective Services was notified and responded to the hospital as well and began a joint investigation with the Crockett Police Department.”
The next day, several Crockett PD detectives went to Texas Children’s Hospital to meet with its medical staff and the baby’s parents.
“The staff reported that the newborn suffered numerous critical internal injuries, a traumatic brain injury, and multiple fractured bones and ribs,” the press release stated. “Detectives met with the Child Abuse Team who also confirmed that the injuries were consistent with abuse and no other causes were indicated.”
When the CPD detectives spoke to Sessum and Thomas, the baby’s parents, they learned that Sessum and Thomas had recently moved to the Crockett area from Houston. The mother and father were unable to explain how their child suffered the injuries, the press release stated.
“Sessum ultimately admitted to violently dropping the infant on one occasion and violently shaking the infant on a second occasion,” the press release stated. “Messages found in both Thomas and Sessum’s phone indicated that Thomas was aware of anger outbursts from Sessum with the infant but did nothing to stop Sessum from lashing out again or to protect the infant.”
Then on Oct. 4, the Crockett Police Department received word that the baby boy had died. According to the press release, the preliminary cause of death was listed as abusive head trauma.
The baby’s body was taken to the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, and an autopsy was performed. The results of the autopsy are still pending at this time, the press release stated.
At that point, Crockett PD detectives obtained capital murder arrest warrants for Thomas and Sessum, the press release stated.
On Oct. 8, officers with the Crockett Police Department traveled to the Houston area and met with the Houston Police Department’s Warrant Extraction Team, the press release stated. They then traveled to where Sessum and Thomas were staying.
After Sessum and Thomas were taken into custody without incident, they were taken to the Harris County Processing Unit to appear in front of a judge. Later, they were taken back to Crockett.
“We ask that you keep everyone involved with this investigation in your prayers,” Chief Clayton Smith said in the press release. “These cases are extremely difficult to deal with as they take an emotional toll on everyone. We ask that you keep the siblings and extended family of this infant victim in your prayers as they have tougher days ahead.”
Smith said that his department will be seeking justice for the baby and commended his officers an detectives for their dedication and hard work in investigating the case.
We appreciate the help of all agencies involved which include, Child Protective Services, Child Abuse Pediatric Team with Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Department of Public Safety- Texas Rangers, Houston County District Attorney’s Office, Houston Police Department- Warrant Extraction Team, Crockett Medical Center- Emergency Room, and Houston County EMS,” Smith said.