The Bexar County district attorney’s office charged a former Texas nurse on Friday in the death of an 11-month-old baby. Investigators say the nurse gave the child a fatal overdose of an anti-seizure drug, Dilantin. Genene Jones is suspected of killing 60 other small children in the late 1970s and early 1980s and she is currently in prison for one of those crimes, although she may be released coming soon.
The 66-year-old former nurse, who is dubbed the “Angel of Death,” is currently serving 99 and 60 years in prison for killing a 15-month-old girl, Chelsea McClellan, and for the attempted murder of a 4-week-old baby, Rolando Santos. According to the Department of Criminal Justice of Texas, the girl was given a fatal injection of a muscle relaxant and the boy received a large injection of a blood thinner.
According to the Associated Press, Jones was due to be freed next March under a mandatory release law that was in place when she was convicted. The nurse, who worked in hospitals in San Antonio and Kerrville, Texas, committed both crimes in 1982, shortly before her arrest, and was convicted in 1984. A grand jury now accuses Jones of murdering 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer in 1981 by injecting him with a lethal dose of Dilantin.
“Jones is suspected of having killed as many as 60 babies,” said Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood, who described the killer as “the evil incarnate” and said justice “will see to it that she pays for her crimes.”
At a press conference, the prosecutor found that many children died under “unusual” circumstances during or shortly after Jones’ shifts, making her the primary suspect. So far, it is unclear why the nurse’s actions, involving so many victims, were not detected earlier.
The medical records of the San Antonio hospital she worked at were accidentally destroyed in the years following the deaths of most of these babies, making it difficult to investigate suspicions. The prosecutor said he “will do his best” to identify each of the newborns that Jones allegedly murdered.
“Our office will attempt to account for every child whose life was stolen by the actions of Jones,” LaHood said in a statement. “Our only focus is justice.”
Jones, who is serving her sentence at a women’s prison in Gatesville — between Austin and Dallas — could be released in March 2018 for good behavior, thanks to the penalty reduction laws in force at the time of her first convictions.
The mother of the only known victim so far, Petti McClellan, has made several appearances in the media in the last years assuring that she is looking for more families harmed by Jones. Chelsea McClellan died in 1982 and the nurse who injected her, Genene Jones, was convicted of her murder and sent to prison for 99 years. Petti was holding her baby in her arms when Jones injected the girl with a dose of succinylcholine, a powerful muscle relaxant. She was still holding her daughter when the nurse gave her choking girl a second shot.
Speaking with ABC News, Petti recounted the day her daughter died.
“I took Chelsea and followed Genene into the examining room. I noticed that the syringes were already fixed. I was holding Chelsea, she was facing me, and Jones gave her the first shot in her left thigh. Immediately Chelsea had trouble breathing.”
McClellan recalled thinking something was wrong. “Chelsea was trying to say my name, but she couldn’t. I was extremely upset. But Jones said Chelsea was just mad that she was getting a shot.”
If Jones eventually gets out of jail, she will be implanted with a GPS device and will not be able to have any contact with anyone under the age of 18. Also, she will be prohibited from visiting a medical facility unless she is seeking treatment for herself. However, the authorities are working to try her again and to receive another conviction before that date.
[Featured Image by Texas Department of Criminal Justice/AP Images]