A Texas foster mother has been accused of murdering 2-year-old Alexandria Hill.
Sherill Small called 911 on July 29 and said that Alexandria had stopped breathing. The girl was taken to a Rockdale area hospital, and then flown to White Children’s Emergency Hospital in Temple, where she remained in a coma until she was taken off life support last Wednesday.
According to Rockdale Police Chief Thomas Harris, Small tried to hide what cause Alexandria’s injuries. Doctors said the explanation Small gave to police were not consistent with the child’s injuries.
“Initially the story was [that] the child was running backwards and fell,” Harris told KWTX. “You don’t get these types of injuries from a 2-year-old child running backwards and falling.”
Doctors said Alexandra had retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, as well as brain hemorrhaging. Small initially said she was swinging Alexandria in circles and accidentally let go of her hands. She later admitted that she was frustrated with the girl and she swung her over her head and down near the ground three times. The third time, Alexandria’s head hit the floor. Small was arrested on August 1 and charged with criminal homicide.
Alexandria’s father, Joshua Hill, said his daughter was placed in foster care because he and her mother “smoked pot at the time.” Court records showed that the girl’s mother had a medical condition that didn’t allow her to be left alone with the child.
Hill said Alexandria moved in with Sherill Small after he and his wife complained that a previous home wasn’t safe. He said she came to visitation with bruises, and had mold and mildew in her bag. At one point, Hill told police they would have to arrest him because he didn’t want Alexandria to go back into state care.
But things were different with Small, Hill said. Alexandria seemed happy with her.
Sherill Small was a licensed foster parent through Texas Mentor, and gained custody of Alexandria Hill in January. She was required to undergo training as part of her licensing.
Joshua Hill and Mary Sweeney, Alexandria’s mother, are working to file a lawsuit against the state and the foster agency.
Sherill Small is being held on $100,000 bond.