DA on ETX baby's death: Worst case of child abuse seen in 20 years

Friday, January 18, 2013 - 4:08pm

A Center woman sits behind bars facing the death penalty for allegedly killing her 5-month-old child earlier this week.

Early Wednesday morning, officers were called to the the 1200 block of Shelbyville Street on reports of an unresponsive child. Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene and the baby, Keilly Hoyt, was taken to a nearby hospital.

At 10:15 a.m., Justice of the Peace Maxie Eaves pronounced the child dead. An hour later, the mother, Shakeitha Cartwright, 29, of Center, was arrested and charged with murder. Her bond was initially set at $500,000. The body was then sent for autopsy to the Southwest Institute of Forensics in Dallas.

On Thursday, due to the severity of the injuries and information regarding the autopsy result, Cartwright's charge was upgraded to capital murder, and she will now face the death penalty.

According to Shelby County District Attorney Ken Florence, this is the worst child abuse case he has seen in his 20 years of work. The state will pursue the death penalty, said Florence.

In the affidavit, Cartwright admits to beating, forcibly throwing, biting, slapping, squeezing shoulders and slamming the child into a car seat. X-rays also showed the baby to have a fractured skull.

Cartwright is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail; bail was denied.

Three other children-- ages 9,11 and 18-months --were taken by the state on January 16, according to Child Protective Services Spokeswoman Shari Pulliam.

CPS has never had to investigate the family for any other reported issues.

Pulliam stresses that if parents feel like they are in a crisis situation, ask for help prior to harming a child. CPS can provide resources and will come out to access the situation and see what they can do to help.


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