Mom Charged in Death of 5-Year-Old She Said Fell From Apartment Balcony

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 11, 2019US News
Mom Charged in Death of 5-Year-Old She Said Fell From Apartment Balcony
Andrea Webb, 21, told investigators that her daughter, Samantha Bell, fell from a balcony over the weekend, but later admitted she hit Samantha with a belt. She was arrested and charged in the death on March 11, 2019. (Houston Police Department)

A Texas mother was charged in the death of her 5-year-old child, who she claimed fell from the balcony at their apartment in Houston.

Andrea Webb, 21, told investigators that her daughter, Samantha Bell, fell from a balcony over the weekend.

Investigators found that Samantha’s injuries, which led to her death, were not consistent with a fall. The child had visible injuries “to her face, chest, abdomen, arms, and back,” police told KHOU.

Webb later admitted that she made the balcony story up. She said she made the girl sit against a wall for hours without any support and when the girl didn’t do so, her mother struck her with a belt.

Paramedics who arrived at the house found the girl dead in a bedroom of an apartment on the first floor of the building.

Webb was arrested and charged on March 11.

“When we responded to the scene as investigators, we saw multiple injuries on the child that were not consistent with just a fall. This child had bruises all over her face, chest, arms, back,” Houston police Sgt. Joshua Horn told KPRC.

“After conducting just kind of a brief interview with mom, she more or less told us that the 5-year-old never fell, so she recanted on her original statement.”

Webb’s boyfriend, who was living at the apartment, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for violating parole and also lied to police about his identity, officers said.

“When units responded, he had lied to police about his name. He ended up telling the police a little bit afterward his real name. He actually has a parole violation and a warrant for his arrest,” an officer at the scene told ABC 13.

The 1-year-old sister of Samantha was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

The feet of a newborn baby
A baby in an undated file photo. (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Child Abuse

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (pdf), approximately 3.5 million children nationwide in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment report to authorities.

“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors wrote in the introduction.

About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated; the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect, or 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.

Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children of the same age in the national population. About three-quarters of the cases were neglect while about 18 percent were physical abuse. Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment.

Of the perpetrators of the abuse, more than four-fifths were between the ages of 18 and 44 and more than half were women.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so officials can investigate and assess the situation. Most states have a number to call to report abuse or neglect.

To find out where to call, consult the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers website. The Childhelp organization can also provide crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

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