The family of a Texas toddler who was allegedly beaten by her father on Sunday — resulting in her death days later — has accused Child Protective Services of not intervening despite receiving several reports about ongoing abuse at the home.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Billy Joiner Jr., beat Elena Joiner, 3, causing her to suffer a heart attack and cardiac arrest. The toddler was reportedly declared brain dead before she died on Wednesday.
Joiner’s great-aunt, Latisha Carter, told the Star-Telegram that the toddler and her four siblings were repeatedly abused — with her 5-year-old sister being beaten the day Joiner was hospitalized. On Saturday — the day before Joiner was reportedly beaten — she was burned with scalding water, according to Carter.
KTVT reported that the toddler’s mother witnessed Joiner Jr. beating their daughter on Sunday. Relatives told the news outlet that the girl arrived at the hospital with two black eyes, a broken arm, and bruising around her ears.
“Marissa (the girl’s mother) was saying the whole time that Billy was beating Elena, he was fighting like she was another grown ** man,” uncle Matthew Malone told KTVT.
“She was just saying, ‘Daddy I love you. I’m sorry, I love you’ and he was just wailing on her.”
The girl’s aunt alleged that the toddler’s older sister told her during the deadly beating, “Stop crying and he’ll stop hitting you.”
Carter told the Star-Telegram that CPS was called on at least six prior instances — and that relatives and neighbors alerted the agency to the family. Carter said the children were not permanently separated from Joiner Jr., leading her to warn the agency that one of the children would die if it allowed the father to stay in the home.
Carter claimed the first call was made to CPS when the now-5-year-old was 6 months old. Carter’s mother reportedly tried to take the children, but the CPS eventually returned them to Joiner Jr.’s home.
“[CPS] could have saved them five years ago when all this started with him,” she told the Star-Telegram.
Carter also alleged that two months before the toddler’s death, someone filed a report asking for CPS to intervene.
According to KDFI, the agency confirmed it had prior involvement with the family, but it would not disclose the nature of those meetings.
Citing court records, the Star-Telegram reported that Joiner Jr. was charged with domestic assault for choking his girlfriend in April 2020. He ultimately received deferred adjudication and five years of probation.
Joiner Jr, who was arrested Monday, faces aggravated assault charges for a December 2020 incident where he allegedly threatened someone with a gun.
In connection with his daughter’s death, Joiner Jr. is charged with injury to a child, aggravated assault, and evading arrest. He may face additional charges once the medical examiner confirms Joiner’s cause of death, according to KDFI.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirmed to the Star-Telegram that the four surviving children were removed from the home.
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[Featured image: Elena Joiner/GoFundMe]