HOUSTON -- A 2-year-old Texas girl died Monday after her father removed her from daycare, attacked her mother at her job and then led authorities on a chase that ended in a standoff, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, deputies initially took a call about a family disturbance on Monday at about 10:15 a.m. A man, believed to be the biological dad of a 2-year-old, went into a private daycare and took the little girl.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the man then went into a retail store nearby where the child's mother works and confronted her, asking for her phone and passcode and threatening to hurt the child.
The mother complied and tried to rescue her daughter but was unable to, according to Gonzalez.
The suspect allegedly hit the mother multiple times in the face and left with her phone before driving off in a red Camaro, prompting a chase with deputies.
Deputies said that at some point during the chase, the mom was able to FaceTime the suspect to try to get him to stop, but failed.
The car finally came to a stop at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church near Stuebner Airline and Veterans Memorial, sparking a standoff. Officers surrounded the vehicle and after about 20 minutes, they moved in. The toddler was carried from the car by authorities, and then the driver was pulled out to be taken into custody.
Gonzalez theorized the child might have not had a seatbelt on and could have been jumping around the car during the chase, possibly hitting her head.
The child was "seriously injured" after the chase, according to Gonzalez. An air ambulance service was then called to the scene to transport the toddler to the hospital, but the child was pronounced dead hours later.
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A woman who witnessed some of the events unfold at the scene said she was hit by the suspect in the vehicle.
"I was sitting at the light at Kuykendahl and FM 1960. There was a car in front of me and I seen the trail of police coming," Sandra Friends said. "I'm looking to get over and all I feel is a car sideswipe me."
"He backs out after he hit me and goes through the light and all I see is the police follow him," she continued. "I just end up stopping to call 911."