Authorities arrested a Harris County, Texas, father Monday after he allegedly choked his 2-year-old daughter to death in an attempt to figure out her mother’s phone password.
Police charged Deontray Flanagan, 25, with murder after he allegedly assailed his daughter, Zevaya, and allegedly strangled her, Click 2 Houston reported. Law enforcement responded to a 10:15 a.m. call of a family disturbance which resulted in a 30-mile police chase. Despite Flanagan allegedly claiming that his daughter was injured as a result of “jumping around the car,” police stated she was struck “with or against a blunt object,” the outlet noted.
Police said Flanagan had picked his daughter up from her daycare before driving to her mother’s job at a local Walmart. He reportedly demanded the mother, Kairsten Watson, hand over her phone, allegedly threatening to harm Zevaya if she didn’t comply, the outlet noted. After handing him the phone, Flanagan allegedly hit the mother in the face multiple times before taking their daughter to a red Camaro, in which he drove off, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Pregnant Woman Shot In Chicago While Allegedly Attempting To Rob Car: Police)
Watson managed to Facetime Flanagan during the ensuing chase, where he reportedly demanded she tell him the phone’s password, Click 2 Houston reported. “She was on his lap, and she was gasping for air, and he had his arm around her neck squeezing tighter,” she told ABC13.
The pursuit halted after Flanagan allegedly hit other cars, resulting in a standoff with the SWAT team. After around 20 minutes, authorities allegedly rushed in, detaining Flanagan and rushing the toddler to the hospital, according to the outlet.
The Harris County Police Department reported the child as deceased around 4 p.m. after initially declaring her “seriously injured” at 12:45 p.m., according to a Harris County Sheriff’s Office statement.
Watson claims authorities brushed off previous text messages where Flanagan threatened to harm their daughter, ABC 13 reported.
Flanagan had reportedly been arrested in 2017 for allegedly evading arrest and twice in 2018 for allegedly causing bodily injury to a family member, and for criminal mischief after allegedly driving a car into someone’s home, which he reportedly was still serving probation over, ABC noted.
A Harris County judge doubled Flanagan’s bond from $1 million to $2 million after prosecutors requested his bond be raised to $5 million due to the danger he poses to the community, according to an update from ABC 13.