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Mother And Girlfriend Charged With Capital Murder In Fort Worth 4-Year-Old's Death

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The mother of a 4-year-old boy, along with the mother's girlfriend, have been arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of the child, Fort Worth Police said Friday.

Police said back on March 19, officers responded to a "medical call" at 3313 Bonaventure Blvd. S. where a 4-year-old boy was unresponsive and not breathing.

The child, Stetson Blackburn, was rushed to Cook Children's Medical Center and was pronounced deceased two days later after being declared brain dead.

Stetson Blackburn
Stetson Blackburn (courtesy of Fort Worth PD)

The initial investigation by patrol officers identified the mother of Stetson as Shannon Gray and her girlfriend Reyna Marie Sanchez as the primary caregivers.

They were arrested on Friday, July 31.

Gray was arrested by Tennessee authorities; Sanchez was arrested by the Fort Worth Police Department Fugitive Unit.

Reyna Marie Sanchez
Reyna Marie Sanchez (CBS 11)

"For all of us, we want to be the voice for Stetson because there is no one left to be his voice. And so to be his voice and see justice served and an arrest made is very satisfying," said Sgt. Rachel DeHoyos, with FWPD's Crimes Against Children Unit.

The investigation revealed the following details:

On March 19 around 3:30 p.m., Sanchez said she put Stetson and his brother down for a nap, and two minutes later, Stetson was gasping for air. Sanchez described that Stetson had vomit, food, and blood coming from his nose and mouth. She put him in the shower, and when he became unresponsive, she started performing CPR. Sanchez called Gray to come home. It was after Gray returned home that 911 was called.

CACU detectives did an exhaustive investigation. Two search warrants were executed at the offense location, in addition to canvasing the trailer park for witnesses.

Five search warrants were executed for cell phone records and social media accounts. Multiple interviews were conducted with the suspects, Medstar, Fort Worth Fire Department, patrol officers, Child Protective Services (CPS), family members, friends and co-workers of Sanchez and Gray, medical personnel, and the Medical Examiner's office.

Sanchez admitted that on the night before Stetson became unresponsive, she kicked Stetson in the ribs because he was only drying off in one spot after taking a shower. Sanchez said she kicked Stetson in the stomach three times as hard as she could, actually hurting her big toe from kicking him so hard.

Sanchez admitted to previous physical abuse before this incident - one example she gave was lifting him up off the ground by his neck.

The doctors from Cook Children's Medical Center described Stetson's injuries as cardiac arrest, acute respiratory failure, a subdural hematoma, and a traumatic brain injury. Stetson was declared brain dead. Stetson was able to help others in death as several of his organs were donated though Lifegift.

On July 8, 2020, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner Dr. Greenberg ruled the cause of death of Stetson to be blunt force injuries with complications, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.


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