ROUND ROCK, Texas -- He never thought his visit with her Thursday, July 25 would be his last.
“We got to sit down at McDonalds and have lunch and play for a while,” said Round Rock resident Joshua Hill.
“She got a little 'Despicable Me 2' toy in her happy meal and she loved it. She kept climbing up in my lap and she fed me french fries.”
But on Monday night, Hill’s daughter Alexandria, or Alex as they liked to call her, was rushed to a Rockdale hospital with severe head injuries, then flown to Scott and White Children’s Emergency Hospital in Temple and immediately placed on life support.
Alex was living with foster parents after DFPS removed her from her parent's home last November for "neglectful supervision."
Hill admits they were smoking pot when their daughter was asleep.
“We never hurt our daughter. She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care.”
For two months, Alex was placed in a home that Hill says was dangerous.
“She would come to visitation with bruises on her, and mold and mildew in her bag. It got to a point where I actually told CPS that they would have to have me arrested because I wouldn't let her go back."
In January, CPS placed her with Sherill Small in Rockdale, and Hill says things seemed safe there.
“They listened, they paid attention when we had concerns, they tried to keep us in the loop, but in the end, it wasn't enough."
Hill got the call Monday night that his daughter was in a Temple hospital.
“They wouldn't tell me what condition she was in or what was wrong or what had happened. The only thing they would tell me is I needed to be there. When I got there, I found out that Alex was in a coma."
For two days, they held out hope she would regain consciousness but on Wednesday night Alex was taken off life support.
Rockdale detectives say Small's explanation didn't match Alex’s injuries, so Thursday they arrested the foster mother on murder charges.
Hill says he was less than four months away from getting Alex back and now he'll never get the chance.
CPS removed another child from the foster home on Monday after Alex was rushed to the hospital.
Small’s bond is set at $100,000.
Officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services tell KVUE they rely on private child placing agencies to perform background checks on all foster homes.
The agency in this case is called Texas Mentor and state records show 15 total deficiencies for the Austin branch of that agency over the past two years.
Four of those deficiencies were for failing to perform proper background checks on people who live in foster homes.
The state does not specify which homes were involved in those cases.
KVUE Austin (Kris Betts reporting)
1st August 2013
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