On Friday, January 12, 2024, a 17-year-old girl was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a jury for the murder of her newborn baby. The tragic incident unfolded on September 9, 2021, when the teen delivered a baby girl in the bathroom of her family's Fort Worth home.
Emergency services were summoned, and both the teen and her baby were promptly taken to the hospital. Tragically, the baby, named Dayana, had sustained a skull fracture and was hemorrhaging. Despite the efforts of MedStar's Samantha Sandoval and the nurses at JPS, Dayana lived only about six hours before being pronounced dead.
Assistant District Attorney Lee Sorrells, alongside ADA Kyle Morris, prosecuted the case. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of the baby's death as homicide due to blunt force injuries to the head. The juvenile mother, whose identity is protected as she is a minor, faced charges of capital murder of a person under 10 years old.
During the trial, it was revealed that there were chat messages on the girl’s cell phone with the baby’s father discussing their desire to not keep the baby. Options such as abortion pills and physical harm, including punching the teen mother in the stomach or wrapping the baby "in a towel and hitting it," were discussed.
The teen admitted to killing her baby and left the sentencing decision to the jury. Subsequently, Child Protective Services removed another child from her custody. Sorrells and Morris sought to have the teen certified as an adult, but the request was denied by 323rd District Judge Kim, who opted to keep the case in the juvenile court system.
As part of the sentence, the teen will be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. A determination on whether she should be transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to serve the remainder of her sentence will be made before her 19th birthday. DA Investigator Esther Goodwin contributed to the case, and appreciation was expressed to the Fort Worth Police Department for their dedication to community safety.