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.
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.
“Time did not allow for him to come down to the ground level; he retrieved his firearm and shot the suspect from that elevated position,” Capt. Mike Lane said on Monday morning. “It was a handgun. … It was a citizen that was able to stop the attack, very fortunate.”
The attack began just before 1 p.m. Sunday at Oak Forest Apartments at 1531 S. State Highway 121 Business. The large, gated community showed no signs of the incident the next morning.
Lane said the suspect went into a courtyard at the complex and stabbed his 16-month-old son numerous times. The child later died. The father also had wounds on his hand from a knife, Lane said.
The man who intervened from the second-floor balcony shot the suspect in his leg, Lane said.
Police Capt. Jesse Hunter said Sunday, “That was what effectively ended the assault on the child.”
Video shot by a neighbor on a cellphone shows the suspect, in a black T-shirt and white shorts without any shoes on, handcuffed and being dragged away from the courtyard by several officers.
“Look they’re locking me away mom,” the suspect says in the video. “I just want to see my mom, all right.”
He loses his footing briefly and police help him up before he begins to yell again.
“In the black truck! Look,” the suspect said in the video.
The shooter will not be criminally charged, police said.
The suspect’s name is not being released, pending his arrest. He’s in the hospital receiving treatment. It’s unknown how long that will take, Lane said.
The child was identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiners office as Ashton Ness.
Lane said there were several witnesses to the attack and it was reported that the man had been yelling — “possibly some religious yells.”
There had not been any previous calls or reports to police at the apartment, Lane said. Nor had there been prior reports by the child’s family involving Child Protective Services, he said.
The mother of the child was at work at the time of the stabbing, Lane said.
Brandi Flores, manager of the apartment complex, said they are saddened by the event. She said it was an isolated incident and couldn’t comment further.
Texas Elementary Teacher Suspended After Discussing Sexual Orientation
MANSFIELD, TX – An elementary school teacher in Texas was suspended after she allegedly spoke about her sexual orientation with her students, officials said Tuesday.
Charlotte Anderson Elementary art teacher Stacy Bailey, 31, was suspended with pay in September. Officials with the Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) said it received complaints from parents about her discussing her sexual orientation with students.
In a statement sent to Newsweek, Mansfield ISD said it is their “general rule not to comment on employee personnel matters” but misinformation about Bailey’s personnel matter had “created disruption to the Charlotte Anderson Elementary School education environment.”
District officials said the teacher was not suspended over her request to include LGBTQ language in its nondiscrimination policy. Instead, the district said, Bailey was suspended because she “insists that it is her right and that it is age appropriate for her to have ongoing discussions with elementary-aged students about her own sexual orientation, the sexual orientation of artists, and their relationships with other gay artists.”
“Parents have the right to control the conversation with their children, especially as it relates to religion, politics, sex/sexual orientation, etc.,” the statement continued.
Bailey had been warned after the district received parents’ complain but “refused to follow administration’s directions regarding age-appropriate conversation with students,” officials said.
The teacher’s attorney, Giana Ortiz, said that the situation began when she talked to students about her family, including her wife.
“The district appears to speak for Stacy when it states that she ‘insists it is her right and that is it is age appropriate’ to discuss matters including ongoing discussions about her own sexuality. This is absolutely false. Further, she never received directives to change her behavior—and never refused to follow any directive,” Ortiz told The Dallas Morning News.
Ortiz expressed frustration about the school district’s decision to speak about Bailey’s suspension, saying it violated Bailey’s rights under the Constitution.
Bailey’s supporters have rallied behind her, with parents pleading with the school board to reinstate their “beloved teacher” back to the classroom.
Florence Bruner, who has children at Charlotte Anderson Elementary, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “As a parent, we ask a lot of our children and our teachers, but there are two things we hope for the most — one is a teacher whose love of the subject inspires students, and the other is a teacher who cares deeply for our children. Stacy Bailey is without question both of these.”
Bruner, whose fourth-grade daughter has taken art classes with Bailey since kindergarten, added that Bailey is “dearly missed and loved by the children.”
Nearly three dozen people, including Bailey’s wife, father and sister, voiced their support for her during a school board meeting on Tuesday. Eight people, including third-grader Kaine Hendrix, spoke to the board about Bailey’s departure or to ask about including LGBTQ-inclusive language in the district’s anti-discrimination policy.
“Ms. Bailey was my teacher, my role model and someone who always cheered me up,” the 9-year-old boy said. “Every time I go to art it is not the same.”
Gena Nicole Sanchez, 22, is charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony, accusing her of seeing signs that her children were being abused but not doing anything about those signs, KSL reported.
Last week, Isaiah Weaver, 17, was charged as an adult with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of 21-month-old Jaycieion Sanchez.
He is also charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony.
For about a month, police say Weaver, Sanchez and Sanchez’s three children were living with Sanchez’s mother in West Valley City.
On Jan. 16, police were called to the apartment on a report that Jaycieion was unconscious and unresponsive.
Police found the baby, who was cold to the touch, lying on his back on the bathroom floor with his eyes partially open and a large bruise on his cheek, according to charging documents.
He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A doctor at the hospital determined “it was likely that (Jaycieion) had been deceased for some time before emergency personnel had arrived,” the charges say.
Medical personnel observed bruising and scars “all over” the boy’s body as well as severe head trauma, according to the charges.
At the apartment, police found “fresh blood droplets on the walls, ceiling, and many other pieces of furniture in the bedroom shared by Weaver and Sanchez.”
A 5-year-old sibling of Jaycieion told police that Weaver, who watched the younger children while Sanchez went to work, would discipline them by heating a clothing hanger with a lighter and then spanking them with it, according to court documents.
Weaver, who “admitted that he had a bad temper,” also said he was throwing Jaycieion in the air “because he wanted him to be quiet,” and the boy hit his head on the ceiling, the charges said.
In addition, a few times in the days before his death while he was throwing Jaycieion, the boy landed with his head hitting the floor, police say the teen told them.
Sanchez said she “noticed Weaver seems jealous” of her relationship with Jaycieion, the charges said.
She said she watched as Weaver allegedly spanked Jaycieion’s bare bottom and one time kicked her son in the back.
She also observed marks on her 2-year-old child’s chest and watched Weaver hit him in the mouth once, the charges state.
The mother told police she “had a weird feeling” about going to work on Jan. 16, but went anyway “because they needed the money.”