FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Fort Worth have arrested the father of 2-year-old Jazmine Howard, the toddler who died last week at her home under suspicious circumstances. Authorities said that it appeared as though the girl had been dipped in a hot liquid.
Howard was discovered late on March 15 in the 1800 block of South Edgewood Terrace. The incident was initially reported as a drowning, but as the investigation unfolded, police soon learned that this case could be much more severe. Howard had had suffered a rather painful death, with visible signs of trauma on her body, police said. “The preliminary investigation has revealed the child did suffer immersion burns,” said Sgt. Pedro Criado.
Police questioned Howard’s family, but had been unable to locate the girl’s father, who was supposed to be watching the child at the time of her death. The father was identified as 25-year-old Charles Bellamy. He fled the scene before police arrived, and had been named a ‘person of interest’ in the case.
Bellamy was also wanted on an unrelated family violence charge.
Authorities had been following numerous leads throughout Texas and Oklahoma in an attempt to find the father, and said that they were nearing his arrest. But Bellamy surrendered to police on March 22 without incident, at the advice of his lawyer.
Joy Howard, the 2-year-old’s mother, talked to CBS 11 News last week. She and other family members are convinced that Bellamy killed the little girl. “She was my life. My life has been taken from me,” Joy Howard said. “I don’t get to hold my baby any more. My baby has been taken from me. He deserves to feel the same pain I feel, and nothing less.”
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has still not determined the official cause of Howard’s death.