A woman in Plano, Texas, was arrested and charged for the murder of her ex-fiance’s three-year-old daughter, who she suffocated to death with duct tape.
Melinda Muniz, 26, had just been told by her fiancé, Mitch Ford, to leave their apartment after he found explicit text messages on her phone that were sent to her personal trainer. Ford, and Iraq war veteran, lived in the apartment with Muniz and his three-year-old daughter Grace.
Ford said he called police on January 9th, 2014 after a phone call with Muniz was cut short when the phone seemingly dropped to the floor.
“She took a big breath and kind of gently fell to the floor as if she had fainted,” officer Camille Bowie said. “Her eyes were kind of fluttering, like she was trying to keep them shut forcefully. There's no movement in the eyes and body when someone faints – if you really faint, you're not going to gently place yourself. I felt like it wasn't genuine.”
Authorities and Ford arrived at about the same time, and entered the apartment to find Muniz lying on the floor with her underwear around her ankles. Grace was found unconscious in her bed.
The toddler was taken to the ER, where doctors noticed bruising and blood around her genital area. “I believe Grace had been sexually assaulted,” Dr. Richard Honaker said. Grace was put on life support and died three days later.
Muniz told a jury in court this week that she was “raped and knocked unconscious” by an intruder, who also taped Grace’s mouth shut. When tests proved her story to be false, Muniz reportedly claimed to have amnesia, and was unable to remember the past two years. In another interview, she said that Grace put duct tape over her mouth, causing her to panic and knock herself out with a pan.
Authorities said they discovered searches for the words “duct tape” and “kill” on Muniz’ computer.
Muniz now faces capital murder charges, to which she pleaded not guilty. If convicted she will be sentenced to life prison without parole.