Woman charged with Plano tot's murder heads to court

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by WFAA

WFAA

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 9:26 AM

PLANO, Texas -- The woman charged with capital murder in the death of her fiancé's little girl will appear in a Collin County courtroom Thursday for the first time.

Police say last January Melinda Muniz was caring for two-year-old Grace Ford in the Plano apartment she shared with her Mitch Ford, Grace's dad.

Ford found his daughter unconscious in a crib with her mouth covered with duct tape. Muniz was found on the floor of another room with her mouth taped shut and her pants pulled down.

Muniz initially told officers they were both attacked by an intruder. However, investigators say Muniz suffocated the girl, even taking her to the store to buy the duct tape used in the murder.

An affidavit shows Muniz and Mitch Ford were in the process of breaking up.

Grace's mother, Emily Ward, told News 8 she initially suspected Muniz in her daughter's murder because of previous abuse allegations.

Child Protective Services had investigated four allegations of abuse involving Grace since 2012. Two of them were for neglect, the other two for physical abuse. CPS was able to rule out abuse or substantiate bruises found on the toddler.

Grace was also taken to the hospital for a Benadryl overdose one night, Ward said.

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