Daniel and Ashley Schwarz, a couple from Odessa, Texas, has been charged with capital murder. The Odessa Police Department is accusing them of causing the death of their 8-year-old daughter by forcing her to jump on a trampoline in 110-degree heat without water.
The 8-year-old girl, named Jaylin Anne Schwarz according to an obituary, was less than a month away from her 9th birthday when she died; the obituary described Daniel and Ashley Schwarz as her parents along with Chris and Alysha Anderton.
The Schwarzes are currently in jail awaiting capital murder charges, according to Odessa Police.
Jaylin’s Biological Mother Says ‘Nobody Carries the Guilt More Than I Do’
According to Jaylin’s obituary, she was born on November 10 to David Retherford and Alysha Anderton. The obituary noted that Jaylin enjoyed being outdoors, ice skating and horseback riding and that she liked history and science. It also listed four of her siblings, two with the last name Schwarz and two with the last name Graham.
According to news station CBS7, Daniel and Ashley Schwarz were not her biological parents but were her “guardians.” The Odessa American reported that Corporal Steve LeSueur of OPD said the Schwarzes were not her biological parents, but he did not provide any detail beyond that.
On October 15, Anderton wrote a Facebook post detailing why Ashley Schwarz, who she described as her stepsister, had her two daughters. In that post, she revealed that she had had a drug problem but had been clean for several years. “Everyone has a right to understand why my girls were placed with my step sister to begin with. I am not perfect to anyone but God and only He can judge me,” she wrote. “So there is nothing that anyone could say out there about me that could hurt my feelings or put shame on me that I haven’t already beat myself up over. I am my biggest critic and nobody carries the guilt more than I do.”
Anderton posted a text message on Facebook that indicates she sent it to Ashley Schwarz at 7:29 a.m. on September 23 asking why she had been unable to see Jaylin’s sister for four years:
As I’m sure you know, I came to Odessa last weekend to get (name redacted) with my cousin. They wouldn’t let us have her because (name redacted) said she is terrified of me. She called me “The Bad One” and the one who “Borned” us. I’m a monster to her now. So here’s my question … if y’all used to pray for me every night as a family, like you said, why is she afraid of me?
Ashley Schwarz responded by saying she had not spoken badly about Anderton to her daughters. “All we ever told them was that you made bad choices but that you loved them. We’ve never talked bad about you, because we had hoped you would get clean … .” She then repeated that they never spoke horribly about her.
Anderton messaged Schwarz that she had been clean for more than two years and completed requirements to get her children back but felt cut off from the Schwarzes and her children:
Did you ever try getting in contact with me to even find out? You changed your phone number, blocked me on Facebook, refused to see me on holidays and birthdays-even refused to let th egirls have gifts from me, and moved on the other side of texas … You have no idea how hard I’ve been trying to show you that I deserve to see OUR girls without crossing any boundaries. You never once reached out to me inviting me into your family.
Please believe me when I say I’m not trying to argue with you or lay a guilt trip on you … You can ask my mom and your dad, every holiday gathering or birthday that came around I came around I asked them to ask you if I could please be there and th answer was always no. Not “only if she can prove that shes clean” it was always a firm NO. And I had done so much hurting and crying over always being told no.
Anderton is listed as the petitioner on a court document requesting custody or visitation for a different child from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Schwarzes; the document was filed on June 18 of this year. In that court document, a record is listed indicating that Anderton signed an affidavit in 2017 voluntarily relinquishing her parental rights.
Police Say Jaylin Died From Dehydration
According to police, 44-year-old Daniel Schwarz and 34-year-old Ashley Schwarz had punished Jaylin by not allowing her breakfast and telling her to jump on a trampoline outside without stopping. When Jaylin stopped, police said, her parents told her she could not have any water despite incredibly hot temperatures.
According to the police statement, “A search warrant was later obtained and the temperature of the trampoline read to be approximately 110 degrees and the ground was approximately 150 degrees.”
A medical call came from the residence on August 29, 2020, and when police arrived on the scene, they found Jaylin unresponsive and pronounced her dead, according to police. An autopsy revealed that she died of dehydration and the manner of death was listed as “homicide.”
Both Schwarzes were arrested, charged with capital murder and placed in the Ector County Law Enforcement Center, according to police.