A teenage mom in Texas stands accused of trying to kill her infant son. Officials said the suspicious circumstances surrounding the alleged attempt have led them to begin investigating the 2013 death of another of the woman’s children.
Cynthia Kaye Wood, 19, is charged with attempted capital murder. She appeared in court for a bail hearing Monday.
Prosecutors say she tried to suffocate her five-month-old son while the child was a patient at Memorial Hermann Hospital near Houston.
“The surveillance video shows her actions on video of putting her hand over the child's mouth and pinching his nose, and him resisting against her,” Harris County Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Dupree said in court Monday, according to WLS-TV.
Court documents indicate that on Oct. 11 Wood had her son admitted into the hospital, saying he was suffering from seizures that had caused him to stop breathing.
The next day a nurse, while walking by the child’s room, heard an alert from his vital signs’ alarm.
According to the documents obtained by KPRC, the nurse said she entered the room to find the baby slumped over in Wood’s arms. Wood had made no attempt to notify the hospital that the child had stopped breathing.
That was the second time officials believe Wood had tried to kill the child.
Dupree said a review of surveillance videos from the room show that another near brush with death was also caused by Wood.
“She pinched his nose, put a pacifier in his mouth, put a blanket over his mouth, and her hand over his mouth, suffocating him,” Dupree said of the other of the two incidents.
Doctors and hospital staff were able to resuscitate the child both times.
One doctor told police the child, “was found blue, pulseless and not breathing,” and “would have died had medical personnel not been available to resuscitate him.”
Officials said they were shocked by the callousness of Wood’s alleged crime.
“We do these cases every day and this is very horrific. Both Ms. Dupree and myself and the police officers were extraordinarily shocked by how horrific this specific case was," said Michelle Oncken, another assistant district attorney on the case.
The charges against Wood have prompted officials to look into the death of Wood’s 20-month-old daughter, who died in Mississippi in 2013.
Texas Child Protective Services, or CPS, said the medical examiner’s office lists that child’s cause of death as complications from a seizure disorder.
Houston police are working with Mississippi authorities to investigate the case, Oncken said.
“It's very important, critical for us, to investigate that case, but we don't know a lot of information at this time. But it's obviously very concerning if we have a situation where we have an attempted murder of one baby and another baby who's deceased, so we're going to look into that very thoroughly,” she said.
The Houston Chronicle reports the judge set Wood’s bail at $250,000 and issued a restraining order to keep her away from her son.
The child continues to be monitored in the hospital and is under the care of CPS.
CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin said the boy has not had any seizures or “episodes” since he was taken from Wood’s custody.