Chicago mom tried to drown son, 3, days
after posting online that he had died: police
CHICAGO, IL – Authorities in Chicago this week said a South Side mother falsely wrote on social media that her 3-year-old son had died, then tried to drown him in a bathtub days later.
Celeste T. Christian, 21, was charged with attempted murder as her son remained hospitalized in critical condition, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The child was being treated at University of Chicago Medical Center for asphyxiation and water in his lungs. Police said someone had held the toddler underwater.
Christian told police the child had wet himself after the father dropped him off, and gave him a bath. She claimed she left her son by himself for five to 10 minutes to check on her 2-year-old daughter.
She heard splashing and ran back to the bathroom to find the boy limp in the water, with foam coming out his nose and mouth, and called 911.
An hour before the child arrived at the hospital, a doctor received a call from an organ and tissue donor asking if the boy was there yet, police said. The donor did not reveal who told them the toddler would be there.
When police interviewed the child’s father, he told them Christian had earlier announced on social media that their son had died and wanted to make funeral plans, the paper reported.
Christian was arrested and held without bail at Cook County Jail.
Missing area girl named in Amber Alert safe;
suspect, 16, in custody
BELLMEAD, TX – An 11-year-old Bellmead girl who was the focus of an Amber Alert early Monday morning is safe and the 16-year-old girl with whom she was found is in custody and facing a kidnapping charge.
Katelynn Maldonado was reported missing at around 1:30 a.m. Monday from her family’s home.
Bellmead police issued the alert, identifying the suspect as a 16-year-old Crawford girl who had stolen her grandmother’s 2012 Kia Sorento and had picked up Maldonado “sometime in the middle of the night.”
The two girls know each other through social media and have met once in person at a social event, Bellmead police Lt. Kory Martin said Monday.
The Kia in which the two girls were riding was spotted at around 7:30 a.m. and officers found the two in the 4400 block of Michigan Street, near the 11-year-old girl’s home, Martin said.
Maldonado was reunited with her parents and the 16-year-old was taken to the Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center, facing kidnapping and unauthorized use of a vehicle charges, Martin said.
The girl’s father, Kasey Maldonado, says another of his daughters woke him up early Monday to tell him Katelynn was gone.
“We were just scared to death,” he said.
Katelynn was at home resting late Monday, he said.
She wasn’t hurt, but is “just very, very upset,” he said.
Bond Reduced For Two Illinois Men Charged
With Kidnapping Olive Branch Teen Lured
MEMPHIS, TN – An Olive Branch, Mississippi judge reduced bonds for two Illinois men accused of kidnapping a teenager earlier this month.
30-year-old Juan Andrade and 29-year-old Jason St. Aubin are charged with kidnapping and conspiracy for taking a 14-year-old boy from his home. They both had $600,000 bonds until Tuesday. The bond for Jason St. Aubin was reduced to $500,000. Juan Andrade’s bond is now $300,000.
“That was just an agreement taking into account the appropriate circumstances, under the rules of criminal procedure,” says prosecutor Luke Williamson.
Olive Branch Police say the two Illinois men charged with conspiracy and kidnapping could face additional charges. Local authorities along with the FBI are still gathering evidence.
Police believe the suspects used a video gaming messaging app to lure an Olive Branch, Mississippi teen from his home earlier this month. The boy is safe, but the case is far from over.
“This is an ongoing investigation and does involve coordination with other agencies and so it is still in progress,” says Williamson.
The mothers of both suspects were in court Tuesday, but they didn’t talk to the media.
Once the investigation is done, the case will go to the grand jury who will then decide if the two men should be indicted on the charges against them.
Father charged with capital murder after
stabbing toddler in Lewisville, police say
DALLAS, TX – A father accused of slamming his toddler son on the sidewalk and stabbing him in a deadly attack has been charged with capital murder, Lewisville police said.
Blair Ness, 27, was released from the hospital Tuesday and booked into the Lewisville city jail after the attack that killed his son, 16-month-old Ashton Ness, Sunday in a courtyard at Oak Forest Apartments in Lewisville. Bail is set at $1.5 million.
As Ness, who was shot by a neighbor trying to stop the attack, was being handcuffed Sunday, he asked police to contact his mother and girlfriend. He told officers, “I know everyone’s mad, I’m mad. I killed my son,” according to an affidavit for his arrest.
A forensic investigator found stab wounds “all over” the boy’s head and body, police records say.
Police said evidence indicates that Ness’ attack on the toddler began inside the apartment he shared with his son and girlfriend, who was at work when the boy was killed. Officers found a large blood stain on the carpet in the master bedroom, a blood-stained folding knife and skull fragments near the bedroom door, the affidavit states. The apartment was smoky and smelled of marijuana, police said.
A trail of blood led outside to the scene of the attack, where officers saw several bloody kitchen knives in the grass next to a pool of blood.
When police interviewed the boy’s mother and Ness’s girlfriend, Alexandra Murphy, she said she couldn’t think of any reason why Ness would want to harm their son, the affidavit said. He had been reading the Bible a lot and they had been attending church lately, she told police. When she left the apartment Sunday to go to work, Ness was feeding their son.
In a statement, Ness’s family asked to be left alone to mourn Ashton.
“The shock of this vicious act will forever affect anyone that is close to this horror that happened on August 19th. We thank you for all the support, space and kindness during this time. We love you Ashton and we will always remember your beautiful smile and laughter,” the statement read.
The family’s statement said Ness “left this earth sometime in the last few weeks as he opened a door to allow demons to enter into his body.”
Ness did not have a criminal history in Dallas, Denton, Collin or Tarrant counties, according to court records.
In 2013, he entered a guilty plea in New Mexico on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and kidnapping of a victim younger than 18. He pleaded guilty but was placed on deferred adjudication probation, court records indicate. The charges were dismissed in 2018 when he completed the probation program.
Ness was arrested March 23, 2013, after an overnight standoff with a SWAT team in Los Lunas, N.M., according to KOAT-TV. Police were called to his home after a woman told dispatchers she had been sexually assaulted, and Ness refused to come out for six hours until police fired pepper spray inside, the station reported.
It is unclear whether Ness has an attorney yet.
Just days before the attack, Ness posted a picture on Facebook of the young family and expressed his devotion to them and Jesus.
“The start of something beautiful!” he wrote. “I love my family, man do we have a strong bond, let’s all stand strong in jesus christ cause it’s so much better than magic.”
Ness was treated for a hand injury, likely from the knife used in the attack, and a gunshot wound to the leg, police said. Toxicology tests are pending.
Friends will hold a public candlelight vigil Thursday for 16-month-old Ashton Ness. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. at Wayne Ferguson Plaza on Church Street in Lewisville.
Family set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Ashton’s mother with funeral expenses.
A description for the fundraiser said Ashton “lit up a room when he entered it,” and had “the cutest dimples you ever saw.”
The fundraiser had surpassed its goal of $15,000 on Tuesday.
Several neighbors at the sprawling Oak Forest Apartments complex, along State Highway 121 Business just west of Interstate 35E, saw and heard Sunday’s attack in the courtyard.
Neighbors say Ashton’s father came out of his apartment ranting and raving as he carried a child in his arms who wasn’t moving.
Nine frantic neighbors, including the girlfriend of the neighbor who shot at the father, called 911 during the attack, according to recordings released by the city. Each told dispatchers there was a man stabbing his son in the apartment courtyard.
One man told the dispatcher: “They slammed the little kid on the ground. They’re stabbing their baby out here in the middle…”
“They’re stabbing their baby?” the dispatcher asked.
“They’re stabbing the baby right now in the middle of the complex, right now,” he said.
Another caller told a dispatcher, “There’s blood everywhere.”
“I think the dad killed him,” she said. The woman then told the dispatcher she heard two or three gunshots.
“Shots just went off,” she said.
Neither the police nor Child Protective Services had been previously called to the boy’s home in Lewisville, Capt. Jesse Hunter said at the scene Sunday.