A relative of an Atascosa County woman who is accused of stabbing her own baby to death said the suspect may have been under supernatural influence.
Tashawna Caldwell, 26, was arrested shortly after the attack Sunday. She has since been charged with capital murder.
Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward said Caldwell used a kitchen knife to stab 23-month-old Caiden Parker to death inside their home in the 500 block of Highlands Loop.
He said she also scratched another baby with the knife.
Deputies later found that child and his mother barricaded in a bedroom.
Philip Short, who identified himself as the husband of Caldwell’s late mother, confirmed that the other woman in the home was Caldwell’s older sister.
He said he thinks of both women as his daughters, and the two children as his grandsons.
“This, right now, is just like a nightmare,” he said.
Short drives a big rig and had set out on a long-distance trip the day before the attack.
He said he had made it only as far as Dallas when he received the news.
Short said Caldwell had sent him a series of text messages Saturday night that got more bizarre as they went on.
"She said, 'Phil, I got this uneasy feeling. Text me back if you're ok,'” he said. “And I texted her and I said, 'Hey kiddo. I'm ok."
"And then a couple of hours later, (Caldwell) said, 'Call your neighbors before you come,'" Short said.
By the time he returned home early Monday morning, Short said his worst fears had been realized.
And he said the attack apparently wasn’t limited to people because he noticed several stab wounds on his dog.
Now, Short is trying to figure out what triggered the violence.
He said Caldwell, who has lived in his home for about a year, seemed like a normal, caring and loving mother.
Short said recently, though, she had become concerned about some items she found that someone had left in her home — items which she believed were meant to do harm.
“Some stuff from Santeria,” he said. “Somebody was telling her it was like witchcraft or something like that."
Santeria is a belief system most often practiced in Caribbean nations such as Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
It has its roots in the ancient Yoruba religion from Africa, merged with elements of Roman Catholicism and Native American practices.
Reached at his office by telephone Monday morning, the sheriff declined to comment on a possible motive for the murder.
Soward did say that Caldwell most likely will have to undergo some type of psychological evaluation in the future.