Texarkana toddler dies at Little Rock Hospital; step-mother charges upgraded to capital murder

Local News

TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Texarkana Arkansas police have confirmed the toddler who on Tuesday was airlifted to Children’s Hospital Tuesday died later that day. 

The 3-year-old girl was pronounced dead at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday. 

At this time, her step-mother, McKenna Cawley, 26, has been charged with capital murder and domestic battery in the 2nd degree. The child’s biological father, Everette Cawley, 23, has been charged with two counts of permitting the abuse of a minor.

TAPD will continue working with the prosecutor on any additional charges.

Currently, TAPD detectives are at the Arkansas State Crime Lab awaiting autopsy results.

The course of the investigation led detectives to an overwhelming amount of abuse of not only the deceased, but her 2-year-old brother, as well. Everette Cawley is also the biological father of the 2-year-old boy, and McKenna Cawley is his stepmother. 

The couple, who moved to Texarkana from Washington state in February, share an infant, who was removed from the home along with the 2-year-old.  They are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Everette Cawley has been charged with two counts of permitting the abuse of a minor. TAPD will continue working with the prosecutor on any additional charges.

The Arkansas Department of Child Protective Services have been working diligently to ensure the safety of the toddler and infant.

The month of April is child abuse awareness month. We encouage you to wear blue on Friday, April 10th in honor of this deceased child and all other children who have suffered abuse. Miller County currently has only four foster parent homes. The need is great. Please contact DHS if are interested in providing children a safe and loving home.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

A toddler is fighting for her life at Arkansas Children’s Hospital after being airlifted there this morning, and her father and step-mother are behind bars suspected of causing her injuries. 

McKenna Belcher-Cawley, 26, and her husband Everette Cawley, 23, were taken into custody early this morning after Texarkana Arkansas Police responded to a call from St. Michael’s hospital at 4:30 a.m.

Hospital staff contacted police in reference to a 3-year-old female who was unresponsive with suspected injuries sustained by abuse.  

After receiving initial treatment, the little girl was transported via helicopter to Little Rock, due to her extensive external and internal injuries.   

Her parents were booked into jail and charged with Battery in the 1st Degree. 

Two additional children, one infant and one toddler, were removed from the home and in DHS custody.  

The victim is currently in serious critical condition at Arkansas Children’s hospital.  
 

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