ROCKDALE (August 18, 2013) -- Texas DPS criminal data is shedding some light on the husband of a Rockdale foster mother who was recently indicted on a capital murder charge after a 2-year-old in her care died of severe injuries.
Sherill Small, 54, was arrested this month on a warrant charging murder and remains in the Milam County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond, jail records showed.
The child, Alexandria Hill, 2, died at Scott & White's McLane Children's Hospital after she was taken off life support.
Smalls’ arrest affidavit says, “She became frustrated with Alexandria, picked her up, and in a downward motion with a lot of force came down toward the ground with her.”
“She did this twice and on the third time she lost her grip and the victim was thrown to the ground head first,” the affidavit said.
At McLane’s emergency room, the affidavit says, doctors found that the toddler had “subdural hemorrhaging, subarachnoid hemorrhaging, and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes,” the affidavit said.
Questions loom over Small’s past, she and her husband 52-year-old Clemon Small became foster parents through Texas Mentor, a state child placing agency.
Texas Mentor told News 10, “Sherill Small and her husband met the requirements to foster children, including background checks in accordance with state regulation.”
But it’s unclear if Texas Mentor was aware of Clemon Small’s criminal past.
DPS records show that Clemon Small was arrested four times since 1988, once on a delivery of marijuana charge in 1988, and three different times for driving with a suspended license in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
But a spokesperson from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told News 10 that Clemon Small’s criminal history didn’t disqualify him from becoming a foster parent because his convictions were more than 10 years old.
News 10 went to Clemon Small’s home Sunday evening and he declined to comment.
However he issued us a handwritten statement drafted by himself and Sherill Small’s family, breaking their silence for the first time since Alexandria’s death.
The note reads, “we the family and friends suffer at the tragic loss of Alexandria and the incarceration of our loved one.”
“It's sad such a tragic accident can be turned around to make a good person seem like a monster,” the note said.
According to police, Small was expected to foster as many as six children.
Texas Mentor is currently being investigated by Residential Child Care Licensing.