ROCKDALE (August 14, 2013) -- Two weeks after a 2-year-old died while living in her Rockdale home, the Milam County Grand Jury handed up a capital murder indictment Thursday against the child’s foster mom.
Sherill Small (Jail photo)
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.
Rockdale Police say they have a statement from Small’s biological daughter who said she was neglected as a child and removed from Small’s custody by CPS.
“We were told by family members that CPS had been contacted sometime recently and were told they didn’t feel like Small would be suitable as a foster parent,” Rockdale Chief of Police Thomas Harris said.
But the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services claimed to have no record of that phone call, or any record of a child being removed from Small’s care.
“We have no record of that phone call, and there are no documents at this time showing where CPS ever got involved with Mrs. Small and her biological daughter,” Texas DFPS Spokeswoman Julie Moody said.
Small became a foster parent through Texas Mentor, a state child placing agency with a dismal history.
State records show it has racked up 59 violations in the past two years.
Some of those violations center around routine background checks that weren’t corrected after inspection.
However Texas Mentor told News 10, “Sherill Small and her husband met the requirements to foster children, including background checks in accordance with state regulation.”
Small has no criminal history, and according to police she was expected to foster as many as six kids children.
Chief Harris said he finds that information shocking as Small’s past regarding children remains unclear.
“It seems that there needs to be more scrutiny on where we place these children," Harris said.
"They have to be put into a safe environment."
Texas Mentor is currently being investigated by Residential Child Care Licensing.