BOWIE COUNTY, Texas–A Simms, Texas, couple charged with child endangerment in the March death of their 2-month-old daughter allegedly kept the baby in a filthy home where mice and cockroaches roamed freely among trash, garbage and animal waste.
Cecil Dane Firth, 31, the baby’s father, and Trinity Chisum, 19, the infant’s mother, were booked last week on felony charges with bond set at $250,000 for each, court records show. Everly Rose Firth was born Dec. 17, 2022, and died March 8, according to court records.
A toxicology screen performed after the child’s death allegedly showed Everly had been exposed to methamphetamine.
Chisum called 911 on March 8 and reported that she woke up to find that her baby wasn’t breathing, according to a probable cause affidavit. Dispatchers gave instructions over the phone and Firth administered CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived at the home. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene at about 1:30 p.m. that day.
Investigators immediately noticed a terrible odor when they entered the house which was allegedly littered with trash, dirty and molding dishes, dog waste, clothing and other belongings.
“A malodorous aroma filled the residence,” the affidavit said. “There were flies and crawling insects, possibly cockroaches, throughout.The counters in the kitchen and the floors of the residence were littered with mouse feces. I observed a mouse climbing from within the kitchen cabinet, which I photographed, and the sounds of additional mice could be heard from within.”
After the baby was declared dead, investigators held the deceased infant until officials arrived to transport her to Dallas for an autopsy because they feared what might happen if they set her body down in the midst of the insects and vermin, the affidavit said.
Firth and Chisum allegedly told investigators with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office that they slept with the baby in their bed. There were no sheets, only pillows and blankets, the affidavit said. The baby was allegedly placed on a child’s blanket on the side of the bed that was next to a wall and a pillow had allegedly been placed between the wall and the baby.
A bassinet in the room was filled with clothing and a crib in the home had never been assembled, according to the affidavit.
Child safety experts warn of the dangers of infants sleeping in adult beds because of the risk that they could suffocate.
At autopsy, the medical examiner noted that Everly was well-nourished and an appropriate size for her age, according to the affidavit. The medical examiner documented pieces of dirt, animal hairs, twigs and leaves on the baby’s “face, trunk and extremities.”
The medical examiner ruled Everly’s cause of death as undetermined with several factors that may have contributed to her death including “evidence of an early lung infection with history of cough, methamphetamine detected in post mortem blood, and an unsafe sleeping environment.”
Chisum and Firth are accused of endangering Everly’s life by keeping her in “deplorable” living conditions, failing to seek treatment for a respiratory infection, unsafe sleeping practices and for allowing her to be exposed to methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.
They are currently charged with child endangerment which is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail. However, the case has not been formally presented to a grand jury for formal indictment and the grand jury could opt for different charges than those initially filed by law enforcement.