A series of horrific text messages both describing and depicting child abuse to Santangela Turner’s infant girl led to the 26-year-old mother’s arrest Monday.
According to a Tuesday news release from the Jones County, Miss., Sheriff’s Department, Turner sent texts saying she choked her baby girl with a car charger cord and “left the infant in the woods next to the apartment complex where she lived” in Laurel, Miss., about 50 miles southeast of Jackson.
But that text was just the beginning of the string of messages that led to the Child Protective Services referral and ultimately ended with an arrest warrant being issued, according to the release. Turner turned herself in Monday, had her initial court appearance Tuesday and now faces felony child abuse charges with her own texts as evidence, according to the sheriff’s office.
The release states that the CPS referral came in on Dec. 13, and the warrant was issued five days later. The child survived.
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Turner also texted photos of her child with a white cord around her neck, captioned with a threat to harm the infant. The sheriff’s office said additional photos show Turner pulling on the white cord as it’s wrapped around the girl’s neck while the baby cries, as well as one of “the baby lying on her back and a knife pointed at the baby’s neck.”
The sheriff department’s Facebook post on the arrest had been shared nearly 700 times as of Thursday morning, with most of the comments decrying the alleged child abuse. Several commenters, though, claimed to either know Turner or to have seen the texts and photos and pointed to postpartum depression as the cause of the episode.
According to the American Psychological Association, it is common for women to feel overly stressed, sad, anxious, lonely or tired following their baby’s birth, but up to one in seven women experience the “much more serious mood disorder” that is full-blown postpartum depression.
If convicted, Turner could face a sentence from five years to life in prison, according to Mississippi state law.