HOUSTON – Charges have been filed against the mother of a 5-year-old girl who was found dead in a back bedroom of a first-floor apartment Saturday evening, Houston police said.
Andrea Webb, 21, was charged with injury to a child after police said they found the body of her daughter, Samantha Bell. Bell's cause of death is still under investigation.
The apartment complex is located on Broadway and Bellfort streets, not far from Hobby Airport.
Investigators were initially called to the apartment on a report of a child who had fallen from a second-floor balcony, though there did not appear to be any blood evidence on nearby concrete, police said.
The girl had bruising on her body and police said they are working to determine if they are consistent with a fall.
"When we responded to the scene as investigators, we saw multiple injuries on the child that were not consistent with just a fall. This child had bruises all over her face, chest, arms, back," said Houston police Sgt. Joshua Horn. "After conducting just kind of a brief interview with mom, she more or less told us that the 5-year-old never fell, so she recanted on her original statement."
Neighbors said they called the girl Sam, adding that they do not believe she fell from the balcony.
The girl's mother and her boyfriend were taken in by homicide detectives for questioning.
According to police, Webb later admitted she made up the story about the fall. Webb said she made Bell sit for multiple hours against a wall without the support of a seat and when the child couldn't do it, Webb said she struck her with a belt.
The man was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a parole violation. He also initially lied to police about his true identity, officials said.
The deceased girl's 1-year-old sister was taken away from the scene in a car seat and will be placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.
We were the only station there as police took the 1-year-old sibling of the deceased child away in a car seat. I’m told the child will now be in CPS custody. pic.twitter.com/Lc164h8gtp— Taisha Walker (@KPRC2Taisha) March 10, 2019