Mother says her little girl, 3, was beaten and died after being placed in couple’s ‘protective’ custody

HOUSTON, TX – She was an innocent little 3-year-old girl who was allegedly abused over an extended period of time, eventually leading to the young girl’s death.

Now her mother says that she was compelled by Child Protective Services to place her daughter in the couple’s care that is alleged to have beaten and ultimately killed the young girl.

According to reports, 53-year-old Huey Hamilton and 36-year-old Shawanda Hamilton are each facing charges of injury to a child in relation to the death of 3-year-old Tarija Carter.

Officials say the young girl died in January of 2020, but it wound up taking several months for investigators to determine the cause of death.

Harris County prosecutor Gilbert Sawtelle says that it was eventually determined that there was a pattern of chronic abuse that led to the girl’s death:

“This was a chronic situation… There were healed-patterned injuries all over her body and there was evidence of non-accidental trauma.”

Sawtelle claims that the cause of death was via a bacterial infection which was able to manifest due to an injury to the young girl’s knees caused due to blunt force trauma:

“The main focus injury, the one that led to her death, was an injury to her knee that was caused by blunt force trauma which allowed bacteria to enter her bloodstream and kill her.”

The young victim’s mother, Rhodashinique Phillips, and her two children had previously lived with Shawanda back in 2018 but had to move out of the home after Shawanda’s husband, Huey, had returned home from prison.

After having been asked to move out of the home, Phillips was enduring a rough patch in life.

At the time, she was unemployed and was facing homelessness. It was around this time that Phillips says Child Protective Services had gotten involved and she was trying to avoid having her kids taken by the state.

So, in an effort to ensure her children were taken care of, and also taking them off the radar of Child Protective Services, Phillips opted to have her 3-year-old daughter and her 1-year-old daughter stay with the Hamiltons.

And from what Phillips alleges, everything was going fine, initially at least:

“I didn’t want to lose my kids to the state. They were safe. I was seeing my kids. They were safe. They were well. No harm. She was sending me pictures. She was taking them out to eat. Everything was fine.”

Yet that smooth sailing and streamlined communication coming from the Hamiltons came to an abrupt stop around the spring of 2019.

Phillips claims that the Hamiltons had effectively cut off all communication between her and her daughters.  

Considering the aforementioned, Phillips alleges that she reached out to her Child Protective Services caseworker for guidance on the matter, which she claims was less so guidance and more so a warning of her potentially losing her children if her living situation wasn’t up to snuff:

“When I called my caseworker, which is Nicole Nicolas, she told me, ‘You go over and go pick up those kids, but if you don’t have your own apartment we’re going to go get them and they’re going to go to state.’”

The last time Phillips would see her daughter Tarija alive would be in August of 2019.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Melissa Lanford, had responded to the accusations levied by Phillips with the following:

“As noted in the report, CPS was not part of the decision to allow Tarija to stay with the family friend. That decision was made by the mother. CPS had no open case involving Tarija when she died.”

Nonetheless, Huey and Shawanda Hamilton are both facing up to 99 years in prison if convicted in the death of 3-year-old Tarija.

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In another disturbing case stemming from Texas in late 2020, police say a man was found in a bed laying next to the bodies of both his wife and children that he’d allegedly killed. 

Here’s that previous report. 


COPPERAS COVE, TX – A man from the hill country area of Texas allegedly killed his family, and was found laying in bed with their bodies.

Twenty seven-year-old Bryan Richardson of Copperas Cove, Texas, near both Austin and Killeen (Fort Hood) allegedly stabbed his wife and their two children to death in December of 2020, and laid in bed with the three dead bodies.

Police responded to the Richardson home on a welfare check and found him covered in blood, lying next to the dead body of his wife, Kiera, and their two young children. 

Texas man found in bed with bodies of wife and children he’d just killed
Screenshot courtesy of KCEN TV and YouTube

According to a criminal complaint, Copperas Cove police officers asked Richardson what happened and he responded he didn’t know. 

The report also indicated that police also found a blood-covered kitchen knife on a table, an empty six-pack of beer and an empty bottle of prescribed antidepressants.

Police also found the family’s dog in a pool of blood in the kitchen. 

The motive for Richardson’s alleged acts has not been disclosed.  He has been charged with three counts of murder and is being held in jail on $2.25 million bond.

In other shocking news, a Lancaster, California, man was arrested on December 18th, 2020 for allegedly killing and decapitating his son and daughter.  

The children were decapitated, and the man’s two other children were forced to cohabitate with the dead bodies for five days before the crime was discovered.

Firefighters initially responded to a possible gas leak at the house in the 45000 block of Century Circle after 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Upon entering, they discovered the bodies of a 12-year-boy and 13-year-old girl, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station deputies were immediately summoned to the scene, where they “learned that the deceased male and female both appeared to be suffering from lacerations and stab wounds,” the release states.

Detectives subsequently arrested Maurice Taylor Sr., who police described as a black 34-year-old male, for “the murder of his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.”

He was booked at Lancaster station and is being held with a bail of $2 million.


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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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