FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Fort Worth are investigating the death of a 2-year-old girl who appears to have been dipped in a hot liquid.
The child, 2-year-old Jazmine Howard, was found unresponsive in her home on Tuesday night in the 1800 block of South Edgewood Terrace. Screams from the girl’s mother caught the attention of a cousin living next door, who then called police at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
According to police officials on the scene, the incident was initially reported as a drowning. But when officers and medics arrived, it was clear that the situation was more severe.
A Fort Worth police sergeant on the scene said the girl had been dead for quite some time before medics arrived. The sergeant also said it appears as though Howard suffered a rather painful death. She had visible trauma on her body.
“The preliminary investigation has revealed the child did suffer immersion burns,” said Sgt. Pedro Criado, adding that the lower half of the child’s body was scalded as if she had been dipped in a hot liquid.
Police remained on the scene early Wednesday morning, still gathering evidence and assessing the home for any possible clues in this case. Howard was taken to the medical examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
Police are questioning Howard’s mother, grandmother and uncle. Her father, Charles Bellamy, left the scene before police officers arrived. They are still trying to locate him for questioning. Late Tuesday afternoon, police called him a ‘person of interest’ in this case. Criado added that Bellamy, 25, is also wanted on an unrelated family violence charge.
Child Protective Services is investigating the case as well. When Howard was 3-months-old, CPS determined that her mother physically neglected her and may have been homeless. The child was not removed from her custody, however.
At about 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, CBS 11 News caught a man in a grey hoodie entering the home with an older woman. The two appeared to not have house keys, and removed an air conditioner to get inside.
The CBS 11 News crew called police, but they had still not arrived 30 minutes later, which is when the man and woman left with luggage and filled-up garbage bags. Undercover police arrived seven minutes after the two left, but found no one in the home.
The two people who entered the home drove away in a grey, four-door Toyota, which both dropped them off and returned to pick them up. CBS 11 News gave the Toyota’s license plate number to the police and showed them the video. Police said that they do not believe that Bellamy was the man who entered the home.
Police did not have a clear answer for why it took over 30 minutes for authorities to arrive at the house. Police are still searching for Bellamy.