TOMBALL, Texas – A woman who admitted to fatally stabbing her 5-year-old daughter while at a park in Tomball appeared in court Tuesday.
Authorities said Melissa Towne, 37, has been charged with capital murder. She is currently booked in the Harris County Jail. Her bond was set at $15 million in court Monday, but she did not appear before a judge at that time.
On Tuesday, Towne’s lawyer said he is looking to get a mental health evaluation for her immediately, saying she’s been institutionalized nine times. Despite the suspect’s confession, authorities said they are still investigating the stabbing.
“We want to make sure that every statement given by a defendant is corroborated, especially when there are mental health issues involved, and so that’s why we’re still doing a very thorough investigation with this case,” Andrea Beall with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said. “But the case will proceed as normal in terms of I need to make sure that after we get all of our evidence then that’s given to the defense so that they can prepare an adequate, just defense for their client as well.”
“Her mental illness and mental health is more relevant than bond, in my opinion,” Towne’s lawyer said.
According to investigators with Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Towne admitted to stabbing her child, who was identified by family members as Nichole Bradshaw, in the neck at Spring Creek Park, located in the 15000 block of Brown Road in the Tomball area. Investigators said the suspect told officers that she killed her daughter at the park and drove her to the hospital.
Investigators said Towne took the girl to the park, walked towards the woods, got the child on her knees, and slit her throat, but the girl didn’t die. The child reportedly began screaming and yelled, “I’ve been good.” Investigators said Towne told the child, “stop fighting it,” and strangled the girl for 30-45 minutes. Investigators said Towne called the child evil and said she “didn’t want to deal with her anymore.”
According to Child Protective Services, the suspect reportedly has three other children ranging in age from 2 years old to 18 years old who have been living with other family members. A former babysitter told KPRC 2′s Deven Clarke she reported signs of abuse in the past.
“She always constantly told me she did not want to go home,” the babysitter, who did not want to be identified on camera, said. “She just kept saying that her family doesn’t trust her.”
The woman said she called authorities on Oct. 5 after noticing bruises on the girl.
“They took my statement or whatever and then they told me someone would be in contact with me. October 6, they contact me,” she said.
A GoFundMe has since been set up to help with the child’s funeral expenses.
The child’s family has released a statement following the tragic incident:
“We are devastated and in complete shock over the loss of Nichole.
We ask for privacy and respect for Nichole’s father, James, and our family as we all figure out how to grieve her horrible loss and try to figure out how to go on from here. Nichole has grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a father that all loved her dearly and never thought such a tragic event would happen to such an innocent child.
She will always hold a special place in all of our hearts. We will always remember her as the sweetest little girl who never met a stranger. She was so full of love and giggles and her bright blue eyes shined so full of curiosity.
We are hoping and praying justice will be served and the heartless monster who took our sweet girl away from us pay for the innocent life she took.
There is a GoFundMe account set up for anyone who would like to help with funeral costs for Nichole. No one ever expects something this devastating would happen to them. We greatly appreciate any and all donations for her services and ask you please lift our family up in your prayers as we cope with the horrible loss of our sweet Nichole.”