Fort Worth

Two years after abused son’s death, mother also charged

Adrian Langlais
Adrian Langlais Courtesy John Winkler

When Adrian Langlais was fatally beaten in March 2015, several expressed outrage that only the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother was charged in the case.

For at least 14 hours, a police affidavit indicated, Adrian had been showing signs that he had been critically injured yet neither his mother, Jessica Langlais, nor her then boyfriend, Christian Tyrrell, called for help.

When Tyrrell did call 911 on the afternoon of March 18, 2015 — Adrian’s second birthday — it was too late.

An examination at the hospital revealed the boy had severe head trauma, multiple skull fractures and bleeding on the brain, as well as bruising and swelling around his eyes, neck and head.

He died the next day.

Tyrrell, 24, was arrested on a capital murder warrant the next month, accused of inflicting the fatal injuries on the boy.

But after a Star-Telegram article chronicling the case was published, various petitions soon surfaced online, asking the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office to also charge the boy’s mother in the case.

“This is a travesty that this little boy was not protected by his own mother,” a Pennsylvania woman commented on one of the petitions that circulated across the Internet. “... The mother failed him, the state failed him and hopefully the legal system will not fail him. The boyfriend and mother should both be charged and convicted.”

Now, more than two years after Adrian’s death, Langlais, 31, has been indicted on a capital murder charge in the case.

Court records show Langlais was indicted May 31 on a charge of capital murder. The three-count indictment accuses Langlais of causing her son’s death by striking him with or against a hard surface, injury to a child, and failing to seek medical attention for the boy.

Jail records show Langlais was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on Monday night. Her bail is set at $500,000.

Prosecutors declined to comment on why they sought the indictment now, citing Tyrrell’s upcoming trial.

‘A long time overdue’

Mark Daniel, Langlais’ court-appointed defense attorney, did not return a message seeking comment.

On Thursday, Daniel filed a motion seeking a bond reduction for Langlais, calling the current amount “excessive” and arguing that it constitutes “no bond” and “illegal confinment” in light of Langlais’ financial circumstances.

John Winkler, who frequently cared for Adrian and considered himself the child’s “adoptive grandfather,” had been among those pushing for Langlais to also be charged in the case.

Winkler has said he had warned Langlais — and Child Protective Services — that he believed Adrian was being abused by her boyfriend.

In return, he said, he was cut off from contact with the child.

“I think it’s a long time overdue,” Winkler cried when told about the indictment Tuesday. “... I don’t see how they could not have charged her based on the facts.”

Adrian_gravesite
John Winkler and Laura Martinez tend to the gravesite of Adrian Langlais. Winkler and Martinez frequently cared for Adrian and considered themselves adoptive grandparents to the boy. Richard W. Rodriguez Star-Telegram archives

The indictment was handed down just days before Tyrrell was to go on trial in the case.

State District Judge Elizabeth Beach reset Tyrrell’s hearing for Aug. 1 based on Langlais’s recent indictment, according to Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

In interviews with a crimes against children detective after Adrian’s death, Tyrrell and Langlais gave different accounts of the boy’s condition prior to his death.

Tyrrell told investigators that he spanked and put Adrian in timeout in his playpen on March 17, 2015, because the boy would not eat his lunch. He said he later went into the bedroom to find Adrian apparently fell out of the playpen, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.

Langlais told investigators she heard Tyrrell yell at Adrian after he put him in timeout, followed by silence, according to the affidavit.

Adrian appeared ‘sleepy’

She said when her boyfriend brought Adrian out of the room about 10 or 20 minutes later, the boy had facial bruising and his eyes kept rolling back. She told police that Tyrrell told her he had discovered Adrian outside the playpen, lying on his back.

Langlais told the detective her son vomited that night and the next morning and could not stand on his own. When Tyrrell dropped her off at work, she said Adrian’s head was lying against the side of his car seat “like he couldn’t move it,” opening his eyes only when she kissed him goodbye.

Adrian with mom and Christian
Christian Tyrrell, left, and Jessica Langlais with her son, Adrian Langlais.

She told police Tyrrell called her at 1 p.m. that day, telling her that Adrian had had a seizure and stopped breathing and that he was about to be taken by an ambulance to the hospital, the affidavit states.

Tyrrell told investigators that Adrian was acting normal after he found him on the floor “like he fell backwards” out of the playpen. He said the boy later vomited and appeared “sleepy” but was fine the next morning — alert, talking and “having fun.”

He said that the two played together after dropping Langlais at work around 10:30 a.m. on March 18 and that he called 911 about 1:30 p.m. after seeing Adrian “stagger” and fall, gasping for air with his eyes rolled back in his head.

A search of Tyrrell’s phone by police, however, showed an Internet search had been done for “how to tell if someone has went braindead” 14 hours before 911 was called. Other searches done on the night of March 17 and the next morning involved head injuries, concussions, and “toddler can’t walk or use right side after hitting head.”

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against Tyrrell.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd

John Winkler pushes for justice in the death of a 2-year-old boy whom he considered family.

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