HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The mother accused of stabbing her 4-year-old old daughter to death on Father's Day, and then leaving the horrific murder scene, has been charged with capital murder, the Harris County District's Attorney Office said.
“The unnatural act of a mother killing her own child is among the toughest for society to comprehend," Harris County DA Kim Ogg said.
Laquita Lewis, a 34-year-old single mother of four, has been denied bail and faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office responded to a welfare check requested by the victim's family around 8:40 p.m. Sunday at the Timber Walk Apartments in the 5600 block of Timber Creek Place. Responding deputies were told Lewis had hurt her own daughter, Fredricka Allen.
Investigators said Lewis and her boyfriend, the victim's biological father, got into an argument before the child's murder. Investigators have yet to learn what dispute was about.
"Obviously, it was enough to escalate to where she killed the 4-year-old," Sr. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.
When officers arrived at the apartment, they found a gruesome scene and the child stabbed to death with a knife, court documents said.
"It's a very horrific type scene," Gilliland said. "Anytime you have the murder of a child, very terrible."
Gilliland said the mother was arrested following an unrelated traffic accident around 6 p.m. Sunday on Highway 1-10 near 610 North. While she was being treated at the hospital, officers said she sent a text message to family members, telling them about the killing.
"[The family] had learned through text messages that she had her 4-year-old here, and in so many words 'sorry' for what she had did," Gilliland said. "Family members became very concerned and called 911."
Gilliland said it's unclear whether the mother was attempting to flee or simply go to another area.
"If she hadn't gotten into a traffic accident, we may be still looking for her [and] not know where she had fled to," Sr. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.
Houston Police Department officers detained the woman at the hospital before placing her into the custody of HCSO homicide investigators. An HCSO Chaplin was asked to help family members and deputies deal with such a horrific scene, the sheriff's office said.
According to investigators, it wasn't the first time the mother has acted violently towards her children.
Lewis was charged in November with the misdemeanor of making a terroristic threat for a Thanksgiving incident in which she brandished a knife at her 16-year-old son. The suspect, who at the time had no prior criminal record, was sentenced in February to 15 months of deferred adjudication in that case.
Investigators said her probation requirements included the suspect to take a Texas Risk Assessment System evaluation, on which she scored the lowest possible score of zero, suggesting the Lewis was highly likely to commit another offense.
“Our heart goes out to a four-year-old girl named Federica Allen, her father, siblings and other family members,” Ogg said.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the victim's burial and other expenses.