Parents Bury Child Because Dad Smoked Pot

Alexandria "Alex" Hill would have turned 4 years old yesterday.  Unfortunately for her parents, instead of celebrating their deceased daughter's death, they saw a judge in Milam County hand Alex's foster mother a life sentence for murder.  After Alex's father admitted to child welfare investigators that he smoked marijuana at night when his daughter went to sleep, Child Protective Services removed Alex from the home and placed her with a foster family.  

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In Texas, any use of marijuana is against the child welfare policy.  The caseworker representing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services stated, "Mr. Hill admitted to smoking marijuana in the house when his daughter has been upstairs sleeping," and that makes Joshua Hill in violation of the state's welfare policy.  Due to the fact that Alex's mother, Mary Sweeny, suffers from frequent seizures, neither parents were proven capable of taking care of their child.

Unfortunately for little Alex, she was placed in a foster home where Alex's parents quickly noticed that bad things were happening.  Alex had noticeable bruises on her body and even discovered mold and mildew in her backpack!  Joshua decided not to return Alex to her foster home despite the threat of jail time and CPS ultimately agreed to place Alex in a different home.  Her next placement was in the care of 52-year old Sherill Small, who was approved as a foster parent by Texas Mentor, a third party private agency who provides foster homes to the Texas Child Protective Services system.

Alex's parents were not made aware of the horrible record that Texas Mentor has until they were in court.  The agency had over 15 violations before Alex was placed with Small and racked up one hundred fourteen more while in her care.  Four months before Joshua Hill was able to regain custody of Alex, he received an urgent call to rush to Scott and White Children's Emergency Hospital in Temple, Texas.  When he arrived, Joshua had no choice but to say good-bye to his daughter who was being kept alive on life support.

Small confessed to Rockdale County cops that Alex's injuries came from her being slammed "accidentally" slammed on the floor while "playing a game."  BUT she also admitted to being "frustrated" with Alex because earlier that day, she woke up woke up and got herself some food and water.  Alex's autopsy also revealed several bruises and injuries on her cheek, arms, legs, and behind her ear.  

A Milam County jury took less than five hours on Tuesday to hand down a guilty verdict against Small and Judge John Youngblood sentenced her to immediately begin a life sentence in prison without parole.  Not only is it appalling that Alex was removed from a household in which her parents smoked marijuana and placed in a foster home; it's also shocking that the supposed "safe environment" that she was placed in wound up killing her.  Seems as if Alex would have been better off at home, with her birth parents in the first place.