‘It’s unimaginable’: The murder of toddler Caiden Parker and release of his mother

Caiden’s grandmother speaks to Texas Crime Stories after her grandson’s killer is released from custody

Almost 10 years ago, a horrific murder took place in Poteet.

Tashawna Campbell fatally stabbed her toddler son, Caiden Parker, who was days away from his second birthday in Dec. 2013.

Parker’s grandmother, Yolanda Fernandez-McCall is the mother of Parker’s father.

In an interview with Texas Crime Stories, she said the death of her grandson was devastating and heartbreaking.

“To be given the ability to carry a child for nine months and then destroy. I can’t fathom it. I can’t. I still can’t get my mind around it,” said Fernandez-McCall, who lives in New York.

Caiden Parker was 23 months when he was murdered. (Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Not guilty by reason of insanity

When Campbell was arrested, she at first didn’t admit to the murder and blamed others.

Eventually, Campbell did admit to the crime and was charged with capital murder.

But Fernandez-McCall said the case never went to trial.

Instead, Campbell was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2016.

Campbell was then transferred to a Texas state hospital.

At the time, Campbell’s stepfather said she may have been under supernatural influence.

Fernandez-McCall said she never knew of Campbell having any mental health problems and felt that justice wasn’t served for Parker’s death.

My grandson was murdered, what justice is he getting?” Fernandez-McCall said. “The brutality she inflicted, its unimaginable to anything you could think of.”

Released from custody

In April, less than 10 years after the murder, Campbell was released from state custody.

Atascosa County District Attorney Audrey Gossett Louis told KSAT 12 that Caldwell had been housed at a state facility and that a psychologist, psychiatrist and two licensed professional counselors determined she was now functional and no longer a threat to the public.

In late January, a contested release hearing took place and Caldwell was subsequently released to an outpatient facility/halfway house, Gossett Louis said.

She could not specify where the facility is or say much else about the case because it is sealed.

Fernandez-McCall said she found out through social media after seeing an Instagram account Campbell created with the caption “I’m back.”

‘Victimize us again’

The Atascosa County District Attorney said her office had been in touch with Fernandez-McCall several times and that her office would be filing a motion for a protective order to keep Caldwell away from the victim’s family.

“We were victimized once by the murder of the baby. We were victimized the second time going through the proceedings and then you release her and victimize us again,” Fernandez-McCall said.

While Fernandez-McCall can’t change the outcome of Campbell’s release but wants the public to be aware that she is out.

“The community needs to know and use caution,” Fernandez-McCall said.

Fernandez-McCall also hopes that her grandson, who she describes as “with a personality as big as Texas,” to always be remembered.

“We call him our angel and God put him here for a reason,” Fernandez-McCall said.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.