HOUSTON, Texas — Photos of 2-year-old Zevaya remind her heartbroken mother, Kairsten Watson, of the simple things she’ll miss.
“I gave her baths. We laid together and we sleep together," said Watson. "And now I won’t be able to do any of that anymore.”
Zevaya’s father, Deontray Flanagan, appeared in court for the first time Wednesday morning, two days after allegedly killing the toddler. His bond was originally set at $1 million Tuesday but a judge raised it to $2 million on Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to wrap my head around why?!” said Watson. "How could you do this to your little girl?"
Prosecutors said after Flanagan got Zevaya from daycare Monday, confronted and attacked Watson, who works at a nearby Walmart, and then took off with Zevaya and Watson's phone.
Court records said Flanagan was upset with Watson because she was reportedly talking to another man.
He later led law enforcement on a 45-minute chase with Zevaya unbuckled in the car. He was allegedly FaceTiming Watson and Zevaya’s grandfather and demanding the password to Watson's phone.
He allegedly showed the girl being assaulted as they tried to reason with him.
"I know in her mind she probably was just like 'what did I do?' said Watson. "'Why are you doing this to me for? Like I love you, why are you hurting me?'”
Zevaya's grandfather, Curtis Watson was hopeful things might end peacefully.
"But then he showed me the lifeless corpse of my granddaughter," Curtis said. "I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. To have to go through that type of anguish and pain.”
A tactical team eventually arrested Flanagan after a standoff.
He has been charged with murder, but prosecutors said charges may be upgraded to capital murder once his daughter’s autopsy is complete.
"It’s my suspicion that Zevaya died due to strangulation which would not be the result of any sort of blunt force impacts that she sustained in the car driving with the defendant,” said Gilbert Sawtelle with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Zevaya’s mother told us she was just trying to end things with Flanagan, but she's now left without her only child as well.
"All I was trying to do was provide for my daughter and like move on and I guess he just didn’t want that," said Watson. "Didn’t want that for us.”
Prosecutors said in court that Flanagan's criminal history includes attacking his own brother, who is special needs.
His public defender did not comment after his court appearance Wednesday.