Babysitter of 5-year-old killed at Texas park said she reported abuse to CPS, report says

Investigators said mother killed girl as she pleaded for help

Melissa Towne, 37 (HCSO)

HARRIS COUNTYWarning: The following story contains graphic details.

A Texas woman accused of stabbing and strangling her 5-year-old daughter is due in court Tuesday as disturbing details about the case emerge.

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Investigators with Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Melissa White Towne, 37, admitted to killing her daughter on Sunday at Spring Creek Park in Tomball, a city about 40 minutes northwest of Houston.

Family members identified the child as Nichole Bradshaw, according to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.

A woman who said she babysat the girl told KPRC that she reported Towne to Child Protective Services earlier this month after she noticed bruising on the child.

“She always constantly told me she did not want to go home,” the babysitter said. “She just kept saying that her family doesn’t trust her.”

The woman made the report on Oct. 5.

CPS told KPRC that the mother does have a prior history with the agency, but they didn’t release those details.

In a court hearing on Monday, investigators said the mother made her child get on her knees and that’s when she slit her throat, KPRC reported.

The girl didn’t die and said, “I’ve been good,” and her mother replied, “stop fighting,” investigators said.

Investigators said Towne strangled her daughter for 30-45 minutes.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that after Towne attacked her daughter at the park, she drove her to the hospital.

Hospital staff found the girl in a Jeep Cherokee, partially wrapped in plastic and mesh bags, Gonzalez said.

“The child had what appeared to be a laceration and possible ligature marks on the child’s neck,” he said.

She later told investigators that her child was “evil” and she “didn’t want to deal with her anymore,” KPRC reported.

Towne did not appear in front of a judge on Monday, but she is expected to appear in court on Tuesday morning.

She is charged with capital murder. Her bond is set at $15 million.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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