An 11-month-old baby girl who died this past weekend in Cedar Park near Austin had been removed from a San Antonio home last year shortly after she was born drug-addicted, according to Child Protective Services.
The baby, identified as Orien Hamilton, was one day shy of her first birthday when she died Sunday.
Cedar Park police have arrested Jacob Salas, 32, on a charge of injury to a child. However, that charge could be upgraded.
Police said they responded to a 911 call from a Cedar Park apartment Saturday afternoon regarding a child who was choking.
They later determined that the baby’s injuries did not match up with that story.
Police said Salas eventually admitted that he had placed the child’s head on the ground, then put his knee on top of her head.
She suffered a skull fracture and died the next day, police said.
Mary Walker, media specialist with CPS, said Orien had been removed from her mother’s home in San Antonio in October 2012 after she was born drug-addicted.
The mother, who tested positive for methamphetamines, was sent to prison, Walker said.
She said, in December, Orien was placed with a paternal aunt in Cedar Park.
Earlier this month, the aunt joined a foster care program known as “Kinship,” which is overseen by Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc.
In a statement, the agency said that it conducted extensive background checks on her and everyone who she listed as possible caregivers for Orien.
According to the statement, Salas was not on the list she submitted, and the agency was not aware of him until after the baby was injured.
It further stated that the aunt left Orien in his care after she was called into work on a scheduled day off.
Police have reported that Salas is the aunt’s boyfriend.
As a result of the death, Lutheran Services is implementing a new action plan for its “Kinship Program,” according to the statement.
It includes calling all of the kinship families statewide to verify everyone living in, and frequently visiting, the home; voluntarily suspending any foster care and kinship placements in the Austin area until further notice; and requiring any ex-spouses who have children in the home with the foster child to submit to a criminal background check.