Austin Mother sent back to jail

mcDon­ald is found to have vi­o­lated bond rules about avoid­ing con­tact with kids

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Asher Price

A woman ac­cused of smear­ing fe­ces on a catheter lead­ing into her daugh­ter’s blood­stream was taken into cus­tody Fri­day af­ter she was found this month with a child, a vi­o­la­tion of her pre­trial re­lease, a judge ruled.

State District Judge Julie Ko­curek grant- ed a pros­e­cu­tor’s mo­tion to re­voke Emily Beth McDon­ald’s bond.

On July 20, a Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices worker made an unan­nounced visit to McDon­ald’s par­ents’ home in Manor and found McDon­ald, who had been liv­ing at the prop­erty, with a child of about 3 at her side. The child was McDon­ald’s niece.

“I don’t con­sider this to be a su­per­fi­cial vi­o­la­tion of the strict non­con­tact rule,” Ko­curek said. “Frankly, it’s al­most ab­surd to think chil­dren could be within that house and on that prop­erty.”

McDon­ald, 24, who could face up to life in prison if con­victed of in­jury to a child, had been free on a per­sonal re­cog­ni­zance bond since her June 2009 ar­rest.

She is ac­cused of in­jur­ing her then3-year-old daugh­ter in May 2009 at Dell Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter. As a con­di­tion of the bond, which was ini­tially signed by state District Judge Char­lie Baird, Ko­curek or­dered McDon­ald not to have con­tact with chil­dren.

But CPS worker Christi Waeltz tes­ti­fied that dur­ing the unan­nounced visit, which was made in prepa­ra­tion for a cus­tody hear­ing, she en­coun­tered McDon­ald stand­ing just be­hind her niece.

Waeltz tes­ti­fied that McDon­ald said,

“Now that you are awake, I have to go up­stairs.” She said McDon­ald then left the room.

Pros­e­cu­tor Jackie Wood had ar­gued in a mo­tion to re­voke the bond that McDon­ald’s ac­tions and the na­ture of the ac­cu­sa­tions against her “in­di­cate that she is a great dan­ger to chil­dren.”

“The de­fen­dant’s fla­grant dis­re­gard for the court’s or­der” also il­lus­trates the dan­ger, Wood wrote.

McDon­ald’s lawyer, Bob Phillips, told Ko­curek that McDon­ald was aware of the non­con­tact pro­vi­sions and was sim­ply an­nounc­ing to her niece that she had to leave her side be­cause she had wo­ken up and en­tered the same room.

“The niece woke up and (McDon­ald) im­me­di­ately started to­ward her side of the house,” Phillips said.

Phillips called as a wit­ness Kimberly Legge, an of­fi­cer with Travis County’s pre­trial ser­vices who met with McDon­ald and mon­i­tored her move­ments. Legge tes­ti­fied that McDon­ald was mind­ful of the non­con­tact rules and tes­ti­fied that if McDon­ald was try­ing to avoid the niece, she would have been act­ing con­sis­tently with the non­con­tact rule.

But Wood said she should not have been any­where near chil­dren. McDon­ald’s in­fant nephew was also on the prop­erty.

“The court was very clear with de­fense coun­sel and de­fen­dant that there was to be no con­tact with chil­dren,” Wood said. “She knew chil­dren were there, and she should have never walked into that house.”

McDon­ald’s daugh­ter was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal on April 15, 2009, with a high fever and “a long his­tory of chronic di­ar­rhea,” ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit. Blood tests came back pos­i­tive for bac­te­ria com­monly found in fe­ces.

Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials set up a hid­den cam­era in the girl’s room af­ter she con­tin­ued to have set­backs in her re­cov­ery and af­ter they had to re­place her in­tra­venous lines sev­eral times be­cause of in­fec­tions or clots, the af­fi­davit said.

On May 31, hos­pi­tal staffers re­viewed the footage and saw McDon­ald smear­ing fe­ces on a cap to the girl’s cen­tral ve­nous line, the af­fi­davit said. A cen­tral ve­nous line is a catheter, of­ten in­serted into a pa­tient’s chest or neck, that leads to a vein or di­rectly into the heart. It al­lows the quick in­ser­tion of med­i­ca­tion or flu­ids and al­lows mon­i­tor­ing of car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

McDon­ald told po­lice that she had smeared fe­ces on the line cap five times dur­ing her daugh­ter’s six-week hos­pi­tal stay, the af­fi­davit said.

In May, McDon­ald’s lawyer, Phillips, said that McDon­ald’s two youngest chil­dren were liv­ing with her hus­band, who is their fa­ther, and that the old­est child is liv­ing with her own fa­ther. McDon­ald’s lawyers un­suc­cess­fully re­quested in May that McDon­ald be al­lowed su­per­vised visi­ta­tion with her chil­dren, who were 4, 5 and 7 at the time.

He said Fri­day that he would con­test the charges against her.

Ri­cardo B. Brazz­iell

Emily Beth McDon­ald, 24, is ac­cused of putting fe­ces on a tube lead­ing into her then--year-old daugh­ter’s blood­stream.

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