Late last week, a father from Watauga, Texas, was arrested for the role he played in the death of his 2-year-old daughter. Investigators believe that the man had gotten in a “fit of rage” because the baby kept interrupting his video game session and suffocated her by placing his hands over her nose and mouth until she died.
Two-year-old Ellie Sanders was found unresponsive in her home after being left with her father and 5-year-old brother during the day. It is said that when she was discovered it seemed as if she was just sleeping, having been put in her parents bed by her father after he reportedly changed her diaper and let her watch some TV. However, her brother could not wake her, she was not breathing.
Ellie Sanders was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
According to the WashingtonPost, when Ellie was rushed to the hospital, doctors discovered serious bruising around the 2-year-old’s eyes, a condition referred to as “raccoon eyes;” bite marks in her back, which seemed to have been made by an adult; and also blood was found behind her ear. Ellie’s death occurred in December, but investigators were awaiting the results of the autopsy before proceeding with the case against her father, though they suspected him and his video game obsession from before.
On April 14, the death of Ellie Sanders was ruled as a homicide due to asphyxiation by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
On Friday, April 15, Anthony Michael Sanders, 31, was arrested and, according to the arrest warrant, has been charged with capital murder in connection with his daughter being suffocated.
“[P]etechial hemorrhaging in and around her eyes — a common side effect of being suffocated — as well as bruising around the eyes, according to court documents. The blood behind her ear, doctors told police, could have been caused by trauma. The bite marks seemed to be made by an adult.”
Sanders is being held at North Richland Hills Jail and bail has been set at $1 million.
Watauga police Sgt. Jason Babcock advised the public that Anthony Sanders was a gamer and the toddler must have interrupted him one too many times while he played his video game that day. He retaliated and killed his daughter in anger.
“Just a fit of rage-type deal — anger. He’s very involved in computer gaming. That’s something he did constantly. She may have interrupted him somehow. His day may have been interrupted.”
An affidavit written by Detective B. McComis proved that investigators had only one logical suspect, stating that “Anthony, by his own admission, was the only adult that was in the residence during the time the injuries were inflicted upon his daughter which caused her death.”
In their coverage of the tragic murder of Ellie Sanders over a video game, local paper Star Telegram made mention of the fact that the man who killed his 2-year-old daughter has been charged with violence in the past. In July, 2011, the mother who came home to discover that her husband, the father of her children had killed her youngest had brought the same man to court for domestic violence. Court records show that before they were married, the little girl’s mother brought her father to court for choking her, but the evidence was apparently not enough for the grand jury to charge him.
On the day Ellie was suffocated to death, the mother went to an art show and returned to her family at approximately 8:30 p.m. Half an hour later, her son tells them that his little sister cannot be woken up and while she said to let the 2-year-old sleep. However, Anthony Sanders, with his knowledge of the state he left the child in, went to check on the child then started screaming to call 911 as the toddler was not breathing.
Following the suffocation death of Ellie Sanders, Child Protective Services took her older brother away from her parents and placed the now 6-year-old with other family members. It was the first time CPS has had to interact with the family.
[Photo via Watauga Police Department]