A Fort Worth mother was arrested Thursday, accused of fatally injuring her 9-month-old son in 2013, just two days after Christmas.
Crystal Collins, 31, is accused of causing a fatal head injury to her son, Charles Collins.
She has denied hurting her son, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The unsolved homicide had been reassigned in January to detective D.M. Savage with the crimes against children unit.
On Thursday afternoon, Collins was arrested on a capital murder warrant at her place of employment, a Starbucks located inside Cook Children’s Medical Center, according to police.
She was being booked into jail Thursday afternoon. Recommended bond on the warrant was set at $100,000.
According to the affidavit, police were called to a report of an unresponsive baby at an apartment in the 4800 block of Virgil Street about 4:43 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2013.
Charles’ grandmother told officers she had been baby-sitting her grandson and his three siblings while Crystal Collins was at work.
The grandmother told police that Charles had been asleep inside his car seat when Crystal Collins had brought him over around 12:40 p.m., telling her that the boy had been crying and cranky.
The grandmother told police she later heard a gurgling sound from the boy and tried to offer him a bottle, but that he never opened his eyes and remained asleep in the car seat.
Later, she tried to wake him again and found him limp when she removed him from the car seat, the affidavit states.
Efforts to revive Charles were made by the grandmother and emergency medical personnel, but the baby was pronounced dead at Cook Children’s Medical Center at 5:49 p.m.
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled the boy’s death a homicide, caused by blunt force trauma of the head.
According to the affidavit and a Child Protective Services report, Collins had been a suspect in the case from early on after she gave inconsistent statements to police and CPS and failed a polygraph.
The mother had told authorities that her son had been fussy and crying throughout the night — including after her husband left for work around 3 a.m. She said the boy did not fall asleep until 6 or 7 a.m.
Collins told investigators that she drove her son to a cousin’s barbershop later that morning, where her cousin placed oil on the baby’s forehead and belly and prayed over the sick child.
The mother said she later dropped her son and his siblings off at their grandmother’s apartment.
Collins denied hurting the boy, but did tell police that her son had fallen out of bed the night before he died.
According to a CPS report, police took measurements of the bed and determined such a short fall onto a carpeted floor was not a plausible explanation for the boy’s injury.
Medical experts also told investigators that the boy’s head injury would have required a significant amount of force and could not have been caused by a fall from a bed. The experts said Charles would have become symptomatic within 30 minutes of the head injury but could have still lived for several hours.
Police allege the boy lost consciousness around 6 a.m. while in the care of his mother and never woke up again. All witnesses who saw Charles after that time, the warrant states, told police that the baby appeared to be asleep in his car seat.
“The only person to have any physical contact with the victim while he was crying throughout the night and after 6 a.m., when he finally fell asleep, was the suspect, until he was lifted out of his car seat by (his grandmother) around 4 p.m. and was limp,” Savage wrote in the affidavit. “That leaves the suspect as the only person who could have caused the injury to the victim.”
After Charles’ death, CPS placed the boy’s three siblings, including his twin sister, into foster care.
Marissa Gonzales, a CPS spokeswoman, said Thursday that custody of the children has since been given to a relative.