True Crime News Roundup: Texas Mom Allegedly Strangled Her 5-Year-Old Daughter While She Pleaded For Her Life
Plus: Paul Flores found guilty of murdering Kristin Smart; Princeton student found dead; Man confesses to spring break murder of Brittanee Drexel; Mississippi daycare workers arrested for child abuse.
On Oct. 16, Melissa White Towne, 37, drove to the hospital with her 5-year-old daughter, who had a laceration and possible ligature marks on her neck. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital. Towne allegedly confessed to killing her daughter, telling authorities that she was an "evil child." The daughter reportedly pleaded for her life, yelling “I’ve been good” as her mother strangled her. Towne has been charged with capital murder and booked into the Harris County Jail.
Read more on People.
California man found guilty in the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Kirstin Smart
On Oct. 18, Paul Flores was found guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Kristin Smart. Flores was the last person seen with Smart in May 1996 after she left a party at California Polytechnic University, where she was a freshman. Jurors unanimously found Paul Flores guilty of first-degree murder. He could face 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced. Flores’s father, Ruben Flores, who had been accused of helping his son conceal Smart’s remains, was found not guilty of being an accessory to the murder. Smart’s body has not been found.
Missing Princeton undergraduate student found dead
20-year-old Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie was last seen near Scully Hall, where she lived, around 3 a.m. on Oct. 14. She was reported missing after her family and friends hadn’t heard from her in days. Almost a week later, at around 1 p.m. on Oct. 20, a facilities employee found Ewunetie’s body on the campus' outskirts behind the tennis courts. An autopsy will be conducted to determine her cause and manner of death.
Man confesses to kidnapping and killing 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel while she was on spring break
On Oct. 19, Raymond Moody, 62, pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Brittanee Drexel and was sentenced to life in prison. In April 2009, Drexel, 17, was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for spring break when she went missing. She was last seen leaving a hotel a mile and a half from where she was staying. For more than a decade, her missing persons case went unsolved until May 16, 2022 when Sheriff Carter Weaver of Georgetown County, South Carolina announced in a press conference that Brittanee Drexel's body had been found on May 11, identified through dental records, and he also said that 62-year-old Moody has been charged with her murder.
Read more on People.
Four former employees of a Mississippi daycare are facing child abuse charges for terrorizing children with a Halloween mask
On Oct. 19, four former employees of a Mississippi daycare were arrested after video showed them wearing a mask similar to that of the “Scream” villain, yelling in the kids’ faces, and chasing the kids around the room. Sierra McCandless, 21, Oci-Anna Kilburn, 28, Jennifer Newman, 25, and Misty Shyenne Mills, 28, have all since been fired and are each facing three counts of felony child abuse, according to court documents.