Towne, 37, was arrested on October 16, 2022, after driving to a nearby hospital with her daughter’s body. Towne has been charged with capital murder and booked into the Harris County Jail, Gonzalez said. Towne was not present during an initial probable cause court hearing on October 17, but it was held in her absence, ABC 13 News reports.
During the court hearing, prosecutors said the girl screamed out “I’ve been good,” as her mother was killing her, the news station reports. Towne told police it took her 30 to 45 minutes to kill her child, according to prosecutors. The girl is identified in court documents only by her initials, C.T.
Here’s what you need to know about Melissa White Towne:
1. Melissa Towne Is Accused of Cutting, Strangling & Suffocating Her Daughter in the Park Before Driving to a Hospital With the Child’s Body ‘Partially Wrapped in Plastic & Mesh Bags’
On Facebook, Gonzalez said the case was investigated by Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide and CSI investigators. According to Gonzalez, Towne drove to a hospital emergency room, where her 5-year-old daughter was found in her Jeep Cherokee “partially wrapped in plastic and mesh bags. The child had what appeared to be a laceration and possible ligature marks on the child’s neck. Towne admitted to killing her daughter.”
According to the criminal complaint filed in Harris County court, Towne is accused of strangling her daughter by choking her and smothering her with a bag. Court documents state Towne also stopped her daughter’s breathing by covering her hand with her mouth. Gonzalez said the girl was also cut or stabbed with a knife, which police said they found in Towne’s possession when she was searched prior to her arrest.
According to KKTV, when Towne arrived at the HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball hospital, “she asked hospital staff for a wheelchair because ‘her daughter’s body was hurting.’ An emergency room nurse walked with Towne back to her Jeep Cherokee, where the nurse found the 5-year-old unresponsive in the vehicle.”
2. Towne Told Police She Killed Her ‘Evil’ Daughter Because She Didn’t Want to Deal With Her Anymore, According to Court Documents
During the probable cause hearing, which can be watched above or here, prosecutors said Towne told officers at the hospital “she made a conscious decision and needed to end the child’s life.” Prosecutors said Towne told them the incident occurred at Spring Creek Park in Tomball.
Prosecutors said in court, “A doctor at the hospital pronounced the child deceased. Officers located,” Towne’s daughter, “Lying in the passenger side of the floorboard of the passenger side of a motor vehicle inside of a laundry mesh bag covered with a blanket.”
During the court hearing, prosecutors said a nurse “stated that she opened the laundry mesh bag” and turned the victim over, and saw “that her throat had a laceration. The nurse stated that there was bruising around her neck, eyes and mouth.”
According to prosecutors, Towne was interviewed by police and admitted she took her daughter to the park and drove to a ravine, where they exited the vehicle. Proseutors said Towne then got a bag containing a knife, laundry bag and trash bag and walked her daughter into the woods. Prosecutors said Towne told her daughter to get on her knees and then knelt behind her, grabbed her by the hair and “sliced” her throat with the knife.
Prosecutors said Towne, “Realized the knife didn’t kill” her daughter because she “began to scream and fight.” According to prosecutors, Towne told police she then put the trash bag over her daughter’s head and “had a hard time strangling” her daughter and did so for 30 to 45 minutes. Towne told police her daughter yelled “I’ve been good,” and she replied, “Stop fighting it,” prosecutors said.
Towne told police she also sat on top of her daughter and covered the girl’s mouth with her hand while still holding the trash bag over her head, prosecutors said. She then put her daughter in the mesh bag to bring her to her vehicle, police said. She then drove to the hospital. According to prosecutors, Towne told police she “wanted to end” her daughter’s life “because she was an evil child and did not want to deal with her anymore.”
3. Towne Has Previously Been Arrested in Harris & Montgomery Counties on Charges Including Harassment, Assault, Criminal Mischief & Trespassing, Court Records Show
Melissa Ann Towne has a history of arrests in Harris County and also in nearby Montgomery County, according to online court records viewed by Heavy. In Harris County, Towne was arrested in June 2018 and charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, court records show. She was accused of smashing a man’s headlights and windshield with a tire iron, court records show.
Also in June 2018, Towne was arrested in Harris County and charged with misdemeanor trespassing, according to court records. She was sentenced to 20 days in county jail in August 2018, according to court records. The criminal mischief charge was dropped after the trespassing conviction, records show. In a third June 2018 case, Towne was accused of assaulting a jail deputy by kicking him while she was being moved to another cell, records show. She was sentenced to a year in jail in August 2018 and the conviction was dropped from felony assault to a misdemeanor, according to records.
In Montgomery County, Towne also has multiple misdemeanor arrests and convictions. In June 2016, Towne was charged with criminal trespass. She was convicted and sentenced to 10 days in jail. In June 2016, she was charged with resisting arrest and later sentenced to 40 days in jail, records show. In 2018, Towne was charged with harassment. She was sentenced in October 2018 to 45 days in jail, court records show.
In 2019, Towne was charged in Montgomery County with criminal mischief and criminal trespass. In the criminal mischief case she was accused of damaging a man’s vehicle, court documents show. She later pleaded guilty but was not sentenced to jail, records show. Her most recent arrest was in Montgomery County in January 2021. She was accused of resisting arrest. According to court documents, she was later sentenced to three days in jail with credit for time served.
4. Melissa Towne, Whose Facebook Page Is Filled With Rambling Rants, Has 3 Other Children & Was Not the Girl’s Custodial Parent, According to Prosecutors
Prosecutors said during Towne’s first court appearance that she was not the victim’s custodial parent. Authorities did not say who the custodial parent was or why Towne had the girl at the time of her murder. The victim’s father and other family members haven’t commented on her death.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said in a statement to ABC 13, “Child Protective Services is investigating this tragic death alongside law enforcement. The child’s mother, Melissa Towne, does have prior history with CPS, but specific details of CPS investigations are confidential according to law. Ms. Towne has three additional children ranging in age from 2 years old to 18 years old, who are safe and have been living with other family members.”
Melissa Towne’s Facebook page is filled with rants about her children and her family. According to her Facebook page, Towne lives in Magnolia, Texas, and was born in San Antonio, Texas. She went to La Vernia High School and was married. Towne, also known as Melissa Sears, studied at Lone Star College and has worked in fast-food restaurants and in security, her Facebook page shows.
5. Towne Is Being Held at the Harris County Jail on $15 Million Bond & a Mental Health Evaluation Has Been Ordered, Court Records Show
Towne is being held at the Harris County Jail on $15 million bond, according to court records. It was not immediately clear if she has hired or been appointed an attorney who could comment on her behalf. Her next court date, a preliminary court appearance, is set for October 18, according to online court records.
According to court records, Harris County Hearing Officer John Clinton ordered an evaluation by jail staff to determine if Towne has mental illness or an intellectual disability. The report will be filed under seal to the court at a later date, according to online records.
Towne was charged with capital murder of a victim under the age of 10 years, according to court records. She faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted, according to Texas state law. The Harris County Prosecutor’s Office has not yet commented on the case.