New details in Las Cruces child abuse case resulting in death

New details in LC mother child abuse case

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - A Las Cruces mother is behind bars, accused of causing the death of her 7-month-old daughter.

Police reports and court documents say the mother admitted to starving the child and covering her from head-to-toe with blankets in an apartment where the air conditioner didn't work.

33-year-old Annette Smith is charged with intentional child abuse resulting in death and one count of tampering with evidence. She is being held under a $1 million bond at the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

ABC-7 spoke with the executive director of the La Pinion Rape Crisis Center who often hears about child abuse.

"We do not want these tragedies to happen yet they continue to do so. Often times we deal with parents who have mental illness or there's drug addiction involved which adds another dynamic to what is going on in our community," Donna Richmond said.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions around why Smith, living with her four kids in an apartment on the 300 block of Foster, would intentionally abuse her youngest daughter to death.

On Wednesday, Smith called 911 to report her 7-month-old was blue, and not breathing.

Emergency Medical Services crews took the child, Shania Smith, to Memorial Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.     

The statement of facts shows Smith told officers she resented Shania because the baby's father loved the child more than her, and that caused her to have trouble feeding the girl. Shania's siblings often times tried to feed the baby and remove the blankets in the apartment that lacked air conditioning, but said the mother would threaten to harm them.

Smith also said she last fed and changed the baby's diaper at 3 a.m. before putting blankets over Shania's entire body. When she awoke at 6 a.m. that morning, she found Shania lifeless in her crib.

"If you suspect child abuse, you need to report it. You don't have to have seen it or have first hand knowledge. but if you suspect that this is happening, to possibly a child that's closest to you, you need to call for help," Richmond said.

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