DALLAS -- Following the violent death of an infant girl, her three-year-old sister has now been placed in foster care while the girls’ father faces a charge of capital murder.
Little Spencer Claire White had only been in this world for five weeks when she was left at a house in Garland last Friday with her father, 20-year-old Tommy James White Jr.
The baby’s mother and another member of the family had left for a few minutes.
"From what we understand, they had gone to the store to buy a pacifier, which indicates the baby had been crying," said Garland police spokesman Joe Harn.
But when they returned 30 minutes later, the infant was silent.
"We believe what probably happened was the baby was crying... [White] was trying to get it to stop crying," Harn said.
According to court documents, Tommy White told police the baby was crying, so he picked her up and placed his hand around the back of her neck and squeezed her too tight.
Suffering from multiple injuries, Spencer was later pronounced dead at Children's Medical Center Dallas.
Neighbor Lyli Alfaro fondly remembers the baby girl who lived next door in a mobile home in southeast Dallas as "really cute."
But Alfaro doesn’t have happy memories of the baby's household. She said she could often hear the turmoil next door.
"Just hear the screams... couldn’t understand, but they would be screaming," she said.
Alfaro said any attempts her family made to be friendly to the family next door — even to the baby — were always rebuffed. She said if she waved at the baby through the window, an adult would immediately shut the blinds and draw the curtains.
Investigators from Child Protective Services are now looking into the matter. Until everything can be sorted out, a spokeswoman said the three-year-old removed from the home will remain in state custody.