A Texas woman was charged with homicide on Thursday in the death of her 2-year-old foster daughter less than four months before the girl was slated to go back into her parents’ custody, KVUE-TV reported.
“We never hurt our daughter,” the victim’s father, Joshua Hill told KVUE on Thursday. “She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care.”
The Bryan-College Station Eagle reported that 54-year-old Sherill Small was arrested at her home in Rockdale, Texas after investigators found her account of Alexandria Hill’s injuries did not match doctors’ diagnosis that the girl suffered a blunt force trauma to her brain. Small told police the victim fell while she was playing with the child and hit her head on the carpet.
The victim’s father told KVUE she was placed under Small’s care in January, following a bad experience at another foster home. Joshua Hill and his wife initially lost custody in November 2012 after the state Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) determined they were neglecting her. Hill admitted to KVUE that the couple would smoke marijuana while the child slept.
“They listened, they paid attention when we had concerns,” Joshua Hill said of state officials. “They tried to keep us in the loop, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.”
But KVUE reported that the Austin branch of Texas Mentor, the agency that DFPS contracted to handle the child’s foster placement, has been cited 15 times in the past two years, including four citations for failing to perform background checks on foster parents.
Watch KVUE’s report on the case, aired Thursday, below.