A foster mother has been charged with beating a toddler to death. The little girl had been placed in the woman's care because social services found her biological parents smoking pot.
Two-year-old Alexandria Hill died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage after foster mum Sherill Small, 54, called paramedics to say she wasn't breathing.
Doctors told police that the explanation Small gave them for the child's injuries were not consistent with her wounds.
The little girl's life support machine was switched off on July 31 and Small was arrested and charged with murder the next day - allegedly admitting to authorities that she had thrown Alexandria to the ground.
The girl's distraught parents, Mary Sweeney and Joshua Hill, are now working to file a suit against the state and foster agency in Austin, Texas.
"She was placed into foster care for neglectful supervision because her mother and I smoked pot at the time," said Mr Hill.
According to court records, Alexandria's mother has a medical condition that does not allow her to be left alone with her own child and Hill's marijuana use had become so bad he almost dropped his daughter down the stairs.
The parents, who are not together, handed Alexandria to Mr Hill's mother to care for - until the state intervened in November last year and the girl was placed in the care of Small.
Mr Hill said his daughter had always seemed happy with Small - and that the events of last week came as a horrifying shock.