Mother charged in death

Relates to:
Date: 2005-01-04
Source: Gadsden Times

Mother charged in death

By Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2005 at 11:00 p.m.

The mother of a 16-month-old girl who died in September 2003 has been charged with capital murder.

Tonya G. Cate, 29, 213 Persall Drive, was arrested Monday at her home by Etowah County Sheriff's Department investigators, according to a news release from the office of Sheriff James Hayes.

The home is off U.S. 411 North near Gaston School.

Cate is charged in the death of 16-month-old Serena Cate, who had been adopted by Cate and her husband.

Investigators had been awaiting finalized autopsy results to complete the investigation, which began soon after the child was taken to Gadsden Regional Medical Center on Sept. 26, 2003, Chief of Investigations Johnny Grant said.

Investigators received a call from the hospital the night of Sept. 26, 2003, that a baby had been brought in with a head injury, Grant said.

The child was flown to Children's Hospital in Birmingham, where she died Sept. 29, 2003, he said.

The autopsy was done Sept. 30, 2003, but all tests were not complete until Dec. 22, 2004.

Those results were sent to the sheriff's department, Grant said.

After interviews with doctors at Children's Hospital who treated the child and reviewing the autopsy results, which showed the toddler died from blunt force trauma to the head, a capital murder warrant was obtained Monday, Grant said.

Grant said several investigators worked with the Etowah County Department of Human Resources and the Etowah County District Attorney's office in the investigation.

Cate was jailed in the Etowah County Detention Center and no bond was set


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