Tyler Mother Admits To Strangling Child, Police Say - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/9/07-Tyler

Tyler Mother Admits To Strangling Child, Police Say

More than 12 hours after police were called to this home on Memory Lane in Tyler, investigators are back at the crime scene gathering evidence.

According to the arrest affidavit, authorities say Catherine Alana Stevens intentionally and knowingly strangled her son by "manual asphyxiation," using her bare hands to stop his breathing.

It was the victim's father who discovered the child unresponsive Sunday night and called paramedics.

"Obviously the fire department is going to ask what happened to the child an that's when they learned the serious nature of this situation and then they immediately called us to respond," says Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle.

The father told police he woke up and noticed his wife, Cathy, was not in bed. He went to little William's room where he saw his wife over the child on the floor.

The affidavit says "the father may have walked in on the mother when she was 'smothering' the child."

Police say the father is traumatized.

"Obviously very upset," says Swindle. "[He's] distraught over the situation."

Apparently this is not Catherine Stevens' first run in with police. Authorities say she's undergoing psychiatric care and has an "extensive" mental illness history.

"We have been out to the scene on numerous occasions and it has been related to mental illness on the part of the mother," says Swindle.

None of the neighbors would comment on what they describe as a "close-knit" community.

One of the neighbors called the attention the case is receiving a "circus." But this crime is far from child's play. Stevens remains jailed, with a bond set at one million dollars.

As far as Stevens' mental state, police believe this is not a post-pardum episode since the victim was well past infancy stage.  He was also the only child.

His body has been sent to Dallas for an autopsy.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

 

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