Fort Worth

Fort Worth Police Arrest Man in 3-Year-Old Girl's Death in March

Two young children died March 21 at Cook Children's in Fort Worth of injuries related to physical abuse

NBC 5 News

Nearly seven months after badly bruised 3-year-old girl died at a Fort Worth hospital, police on Wednesday arrested the boyfriend of the child's mother in the toddler's death.

Officers responded on March 21 to Cook Children's Medical Center to investigate after "conflicting bruises" were found on Erykah Taylor, police said.

Erykah was pronounced dead at the hospital that afternoon of multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

An emergency room doctor told Detective Cantu with the Crimes Against Children Unit that the child's injuries were consistent with physical abuse.

Investigators determined that Tonny Manns, the 24-year-old boyfriend of Erykah's mother, had been the child's caregiver at the time that she became unresponsive, police said.

Detectives conducted multiple interviews and five search warrants were issued for cell phone records and social media accounts.

On Tuesday, a capital murder warrant was issued for Manns and was arrested the next day, police said.

Manns is being held in the Tarrant County Jail on a charge of capital murder of a person under 10 years old. His bail has been set at $200,000.

The same day Erykah died at Cook Children's, the hospital also lost a 4-year-old boy to severe injuries.

Stetson Blackburn had been admitted to the hospital March 19 unresponsive and not breathing. He was pronounced dead March 21, two days after he was declared brain-dead and his organs were donated, police said.

Stetson's death was due to blunt force injuries with complications, the medical examiner's office ruled.

The hospital said it saw a total of seven cases of severe child abuse that week, including the deaths of Erykah and Stetson.

In July, police arrested his mother, Shannon Gray, and her girlfriend, Reyna Marie Sanchez.

Sanchez admitted to kicking the child in the ribs because he was only drying off in one spot after taking a shower and then kicked him in the stomach three times, police said.

Police said Sanchez called Gray to come home after Stetson became unresponsive following signs of medical distress, and 911 was called after Gray arrived home.

Gray and Sanchez, 24, were both arrested on capital murder warrants. Gray, 23, remained in the jail Saturday with bail set at $250,000.

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