FORNEY, Texas — The autopsy of infant foster child Elizabeth Henson, who was found unresponsive at her foster home on December 29, has been ruled an accident.
Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office has determined the 5-month-old official cause of death as “asphyxia due to wedging.” A term to describe when someone suffocates from either lying face down or being lodged between a sleeping partner or surface. The official autopsy report was released to Kaufman County authorities late last week sources confirmed.
Henson’s foster mother, 37-year-old Natalie Parker surrendered to the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office on January 7 on felony charges for tampering with a witness, injury to a child, and abandoning or endangering a child in connection with the death.
Parker’s 19-year-old son Christian Richmond also lived in the house. He was arrested on child pornography charges on January 3 and posted a $15,000 bond on January 4. Officials say they don’t believe the child pornography charges are related to Henson’s death.
The medical examiner’s report supports law enforcement’s narrative of events revealed in the arrest warrant affidavits obtained by inForney.com that report Richmond told investigators he cared for the infant overnight, feeding her and eventually falling asleep with the infant face up on his chest while on the couch. Richmond was caring for the baby because investigators learned that Parker had been gone all night.
When Richmond awoke, he told investigators Henson was not breathing and appeared to be purple. Richmond then says he brought Henson downstairs to Parker who had returned early that morning. She attempted to provide CPR to Henson until EMS arrived the affidavit says.
Further, Parker signed documentation stating she was the only person authorized to care for the foster children, that other personnel inside the residence must maintain minimum standards, and that all foster infants are required to only sleep in his or her crib.
Based on the evidence and interviews, the investigators say Parker knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence placed Henson in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment by leaving her with unauthorized supervision while being the only authorized legal person to have a duty to act on Henson's behalf.
Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley confirmed Tuesday that the charges against Parker will still stand and are not affected by the medical examiner’s findings.
“It is the DA’s office position at this time to pursue the charges against Natalie Parker,” Wiley said in a statement.
Parker remains in custody at the Kaufman county jail on bonds totaling $195,000 where she awaits her first court hearing. The district attorney’s office says they cannot confirm whether any additional charges would be forthcoming.
A KCSO spokesperson says the investigation remains ongoing.