Bond set at $1M for father charged with daughter’s death after domestic dispute, chase in NW Harris County

A toddler is dead and her father has been charged with murder following a chase and standoff in northwest Harris County Monday, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

HOUSTON – A toddler is dead, and her father has been charged with murder, following a chase and standoff in northwest Harris County Monday, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

Deputies initially responded to reports of a family disturbance on West FM 1960 at 10:15 a.m.

During a news conference, Gonzalez said the suspect, identified as Deontray Flanagan, 25, went to a private daycare on FM 1960 and removed his 2-year-old daughter, Zevaya Flanagan. Later Monday night, Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigators revealed Flanagan was on the approved list to pick-up his daughter.

He then drove to a Walmart where the child’s mother worked and confronted her, according to the sheriff. Flanagan reportedly asked for the password to her cellphone and threatened to harm the child if she didn’t hand over her phone.

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After the mother gave him the cellphone, she attempted to rescue her child from his hold, but the suspect struck her in the face several times and left the retail store with the child and her items, deputies said.

When deputies arrived at the scene and learned a child was involved, they reportedly tracked the cellphone and located Flanagan, who was driving a red Camaro, in the Greenspoint area.

According to Gonzalez, a pursuit ensued for a 30-mile chase along the North Freeway for 45 minutes. During the pursuit, the Camaro side-swiped at least one vehicle.

“Next thing I know, I just see him hit my car, I felt it. I’m looking at him and he just backed on out,” said Brittany Rodgers, whose car showed significant damage.

The Camaro came to a stop near a church on Stuebner Airline at Veterans Memorial. The Houston Police Department’s SWAT team also responded to assist deputies during the standoff. A negotiator was able to communicate with the suspect and learned that the child needed medical attention.

Once deputies learned about the child’s condition, Gonzalez said they launched a distraction device and an assault team to get the child and suspect out of the vehicle. The child was removed, and EMS began lifesaving measures.

Gonzalez said the man was then taken into custody.

At the press conference, following the end of the incident, KPRC 2 Joel Eisenbaum inquired about how the child was injured.

“The initial information that we received that came from the suspect was apparently that the child had, I’m paraphrasing here, jumped around the car, you know, during everything that had transpired,” Gonzalez said.

The child was flown to a hospital via Life Flight in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

The girl reportedly suffered trauma to her body and head. Sheriff Gonzalez said the child was not in a car seat during the pursuit.

On Tuesday, court documents revealed that Zevaya died after Flanagan struck her with or against a blunt object and choked her while on Facetime with the mother after she refused to give him her password to her cellphone.

Documents also confirmed that Zevaya was not restrained in a car seat and the father did not seek medical attention, which resulted in her death.

Flanagan was placed in the Harris County Jail. His bond was set at $1 million.

Suspect’s criminal history

According to records, Flanagan has a past history of violence against family members.

He was charged for assault causing bodily injury and evading arrest in 2017.

In 2018, he was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member. That same year, he was also charged with criminal mischief.

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