Injuries uncovered by an autopsy report transformed a toddler’s death from sad accident to capital murder in El Campo Friday, Jan. 22.
El Campo police say 26-year-old babysitter Angel Nicole Castro, of El Campo, inflicted egregious harm upon 19-month-old Roselynn Coats on Jan. 19 and then waited 45 minutes to call for help.
“She said she didn’t think it was that bad at the time,” El Campo police Lt. Russell Urban said.
When El Campo EMS was summoned to the scene at 11:06 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, little Roselynn was not conscious, but was breathing, according to the ECPD.
“She had an obvious head injury, but that was not the cause of death,” Urban said, adding the child suffered unspecified fatal internal injuries.
Castro had been caring for Roselynn, the daughter of a highway contract worker, since October. She initially told investigators that the child had been climbing on kitchen cabinets and had fallen, striking her head on a rocking horse and then on the floor.
Police say lead investigator Sgt. Justin Soza’s case against Castro is a strong one.
“The results of the autopsy (conducted by the Fort Bend County Medical Examiner’s Office) led us to believe otherwise without a doubt,” Urban said.
A helicopter ambulance was summoned to take Roselynn from Castro’s Way Street home to a Houston hospital, but was canceled. Instead, the child was transported by El Campo EMS to El Campo Memorial Hospital. Wharton County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Timmy Drapela pronounced her dead at the hospital at 1:04 p.m. and ordered an autopsy.
Two other children were in the Way Street home when Roselynn was hurt, one is Castro’s child and the other another youngster entrusted to her care. Neither were harmed.
Police had never been called to Castro’s northeast El Campo home. She has no prior criminal record.
It’s not the first time little Roselynn had suffered harm.
“There were incidents prior. Injuries that were never reported to the police or CPS,” Urban said. Police did not say whether they believed that harm came at the hands of Castro.
Thus far no additional charges have been filed against Castro and Urban said he does not anticipate any additional ones.
Castro was interviewed at the El Campo Police Headquarters last week, coming to the station with attorney Ken Lipscomb. “She was interviewed with her attorney present. They terminated the interview,” Urban said.
A warrant was issued for Castro’s arrest Friday, Jan. 22. Police stopped a vehicle she was riding in on U.S. 59 at 8:40 p.m. and she was arrested without incident.
Castro was booked into the Wharton County Jail at 10:41 p.m. on the single count of capital murder of a person under the age of 10. She posted a $500,000 bond and was released at 1:39 p.m. Saturday.
A murder, intentional or in an act of anger/passion, becomes a capital charge if the victim is under 10 years of age, according to the Texas Penal Code. The punishment for capital murder, if ultimately convicted, are life in prison or the possibility of state seeking the death penalty. The charge also allows the convicted to be found guilty of a lesser offense.
Roselynn Coats was buried in Farmerville, La., on Sunday Jan. 24. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Police were called to 703 Way again at 2 p.m. Saturday when a person there reported the back window on a Chevrolet Impala had been broken and a tire damaged.