Amarillo, TX- Like many, the day my daughter was born was an awakening for me. It’s hard to describe, but I will say that never in my life did I imagine I would ever love another human being as much as I did her that day and still do. Instant infatuation. Her first night home, we placed her between us in our bed and stayed up most of the night staring at her with admiration. We marveled over her tiny toes and long fingers, her own special features that reflected a little of us both, and the way she squeaked like a mouse when she slept which earned her her nickname. When our eyes grew heavy and we nuzzled in beside her for the night, we both knew we would always try to protect her from harm even though this precious gift had only been in our lives for a short time. It’s when I read sentences like this, “she fatally beat her 5-year old daughter” that remind me of the day my daughter was born and makes me want to scream hysterically…Why?!
On July 4, Kristina Earnest, 22, and her boyfriend, 41-year old Tommy Castro, took Earnest’s 5-year old daughter, Kati Chantelle Earnest, to the emergency room around 11:40 that evening. They told the hospital staff that they found little Kati face-down in the bathtub and she had drowned. Jesus, not that it would really make a difference, but can we get a tard for once that would come up with a more original excuse than the bathtub, the couch, or another sibling did it. I mean, this poor baby girl was covered in bruises and they tried to claim she drowned?! It probably would have been more feasible to say she was trampled by a pack of wild hogs because they wanted her strawberry lollipop. When the hospital staff tried to revive little Kati, and were unsuccessful, they pronounced her dead shortly after midnight. That’s when they alerted the authorities due to the bruising on Kati’s body that appeared to be consistent with child abuse.
Little Kati’s body suffered many injuries including cuts and bruising on the liver, and blunt force trauma to the head, neck, anterior chest, buttocks and extremities. The Medical Examiner’s report listed her cause of death as blunt force trauma to the abdomen. It was Kristina Ernest, her mother, her protector, her murderer who admitted striking little Kati with a closed fist about five times. She voluntarily went to the police station at 3:40 a.m. on July 7 and was arrested. She remains in jail charged with capital murder with her bond at $250,000. Murdering a child younger than 6-years old is a capital murder offense in Texas. Her punishment could range from life in prison without parole to the death penalty. I, for one, am hoping for the latter.
Earnest has two other children and was the target of a CPS investigation in Amarillo in July 2006 on allegations of physical neglect. No evidence was found to support the allegations, but when she was arrested for Kati’s murder the other two children were taken into custody by CPS. On July 10, her boyfriend, Tommy Castro, was arrested and charged with two counts of injury to a child. The first felony offense is injury to a child relating to Kati’s injuries. The second felony was for injury to a child involving Earnest’s 18-month old son. Castro is in jail on separate bonds of $250,000 and $100,000 respectively.
Shelley Blevins, the mother of Kati’s father, Nelson Cardwell Jr., said the two families have a strained relationship and the parents struggled for years to agree on a visitation schedule. Blevins said the last time she saw Kati was in December and that she was a very sweet little girl who was so loving and affectionate. She also said that her son, who is not the father of Earnest’s other two children, is struggling with his daughter’s death. “He’s having a hard time,” Blevins said. “He struggled with always wanting to be a part of Kati’s life.” I’m sure those who loved Kati are asking the same question I asked at the beginning of this story. Hell, I’m even sure little Kati was asking that question herself the day she was brutally beaten to death. Why?! The only people who can answer that question are sitting behind bars and we all know there is no fucking answer that will justify it. R.I.P. Kati Chantelle Earnest. May the people who bruised and broke your little body Rot In Hell!
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