KAUFMAN, Texas — A Kaufman county grand jury has indicted the foster mother who was responsible for the care of Elizabeth Henson, a child that was in CPS custody and was found dead in late December.
Natalie Parker, 37, of Forney was formally indicted on three counts by the grand jury on Friday. Parker faces one count of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury and one count of abandoning or endangering a child with criminal negligence. She has also been charged with one count of tampering with a witness.
Elizabeth Henson was found unresponsive on the morning of December 29 at the Forney home that she had been assigned to with her brother since being taken from her biological parents by Denton County CPS in July 2018. She was only five months old at the time of her death.
As inForney.com had previously reported, the living conditions in the home were described as “filth and squalor” according to law enforcement officials. County records confirmed that the home had never been inspected by any governmental official for fire safety and health inspections, which are both required by law. Investigators determined Parker was not home the night leading to Henson's death through cell phone downloads and surveillance video, according to affidavits.
Parker's 19-year-old son, Christian Richmond, also known as "Smokey," who was arrested for possession of child pornography in the day's following the infant's death, 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. Investigators say Parker allegedly attempted to coerce Richmond to make false statements about the circumstances of Henson's death.
Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office determined the 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.
CPS records confirm that baby Henson and her brother were placed into Parker’s car by Kingdom Kids Child Placing Agency, a fraudulent and now defunct nonprofit organization that managed 25 foster homes throughout North Texas. Parker had a previous criminal history that should have exclusively excluded her from being a foster parent; however, her background and other complaints were overlooked officials say. Since Henson’s death the state has terminated their contract with Kingdom Kids Child placing agency and says they have investigated all other children in CPS custody who had been placed by the organization.
Parker has been in custody at the Kaufman county jail since she surrendered herself on January 7 on bonds totaling $190,000. Now she must wait for her first hearing in the 86th District Court. Parker will be represented by the Kaufman county public defender’s office after declaring herself indigent.