Toddler crushed to death, mother hurt by falling tree branch

Police: Mother had just finished volunteering when freak accident occurred

By Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter, Mary Cuervo, Mary Benton

TOMBALL, Texas - Tomball police are investigating after a freak accident killed a toddler and injured her mother late Tuesday night. A branch fell from a tree, crushing the stroller the baby was in and hurting her mother.

The baby's grandparents tell Local 2 they are heartbroken after they lost their only granddaughter and their daughter is still in the hospital. They feel the tree was rotten and are citing negligence. They say they want Tomball police to launch an investigation.

Tomball police say no criminal negligence is involved, others who live in the neighborhood are concerned about the number of dead trees.

"It could just have easily happened to me and my kids walking out here," said Mary Ann Jordan, who was walking two of her children in stroller Wednesday afternoon. "Maybe we can get together and get rid of some of these trees so that they don't cause such a problem."

Don Merwin was working at the center with the victim and her daughter just before the incident.

"A limb from very high up had hit the carriage," said Don Merwin.

There are pieces of wood still lodged inside the 14-month-old's seat. The baby's grandparents were too devastated to speak on camera, but they did say their daughter, Lyndi Lolmaugh, was volunteering at the Lone Star Behavior Health Residential Facility on Crescent Drive in Tomball Tuesday night to help put up Christmas decorations. But at the end of the night, while she was pushing her baby down a trail, the unthinkable happened.

Witnesses say a tree limb about 40 feet in the air fell on top of both of them, throwing the mom to the side and crushing the little baby girl.

"We pulled the limb off and I was asking her to sit still," Merwin said.

Both Lyndi and her baby, Tesa Grace, were taken to the hospital by helicopter, but the impact was too much for the little girl and she died. Her mother suffered a broken back, dislocated shoulder and a concussion. All she remembers is the sound of her the tree cracking.

"It wasn't a case of wind, it's just... We were all feeling blessed and thankful. Sometimes you don't know why," said Merwin.

The grandparents don't know why, but they do know their grand baby was named Grace for a reason -- it took grace to bring her into the world and they will need that same grace to keep standing after she is gone.

Friends say they will do everything possible to support Lyndi in the aftermath of the unthinkable.

"I've lost a child, an infant. I know what kind of impact this will have on her," said Jim Eugly, who was with Lyndi and her daughter before the tragedy. "At this time of the year, it happens around Christmas, she's going to have many many Christmases where that's the memory of Christmas," he said.

Other friends describe Lyndi as a person of strong faith.

"She would ask that everybody that can hear this message pray for mercy and comfort that surpasses all understanding," said Shawna Orzechowski, who is organizing a benefit for Lyndi.

Earlier Wednesday morning officers at the Tomball Police Department told Local 2 they did not file a report because they believed there was no criminal negligence, but after our conversation they told us officers will go back to the scene and investigate.

The mother just moved to Houston to start a new life with her daughter. She does not have insurance and will need help with the funeral costs for her daughter and her own medical expenses.

A fund has been set up where you can help. Click here for more information.

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