Nacogdoches Co. mother charged in toddler's death

Joy Yates. Photo Source: Nacogdoches County Jail
Joy Yates. Photo Source: Nacogdoches County Jail
Anthony Roberts. Photo Source: Nacogdoches County Jail
Anthony Roberts. Photo Source: Nacogdoches County Jail

By Holley Nees - email

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches County woman has been charged in her three-year-old daughter's death.

Joy Fay Yates, 24, was previously cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of her daughter, Kaylen Broumley. Her then-boyfriend, Anthony Roberts, 38, of Laneville, was charged last year with capital murder.

However, Sheriff Thomas Kerss said prosecutors had received enough evidence to charge Yates with injury to a child.

Kerss said the initial plan was to send the Yates case to the grand jury, but that Yates learned about the possible charge and applied for a passport.

"We got word that was she was at the Nacogdoches District Clerk's office to travel international," said District Attorney Nicole LoStracco. "We immediately contacted the Texas Attorney General's office. After that, both agencies agreed it was time to get a warrant for her arrest."

Kerss said Yates was arrested Friday at her residence.

Roberts pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of injury to a child in July and agreed to a 12-year prison sentence.

Kerss said his understanding was that part of Roberts' plea agreement was that he cooperate in the criminal investigation of Yates. He said he thought Yates learned that information and tried to flee the country.

At the time of the child's death Child Protective Services was investigating a child abuse complaint against the child's mother filed two months earlier.  Kerss said his office had questioned Yates, and afterwards said he was satisfied that she did not cause the death of her child.  He said Yates was only a witness and not a suspect.

An arrest affidavit for Roberts said Yates told investigators that Roberts, her live-in boyfriend at the time, had delayed her from seeking medical attention for her daughter for several hours.  An autopsy revealed Kaylen died from a severe head injury.  Doctors also found multiple bruises and scars over the child's face and body.

Yates' arrest affidavit stated Yates and Roberts made up a story that Kaylen had fallen off a horse. An investigation revealed she had been beaten and shook.

The State Attorney General's Office is handling the prosecution, due to a conflict between LoStracco and people surrounding the case when LoStracco was in private practice.

LoStracco said the Attorney General's office will be in Nacogdoches Friday to present Yates' case to a Nacogdoches County grand jury.

Yates is in the Nacogdoches County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

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