Texarkana, TX 72° Fri H 88° L 72° Sat H 85° L 69° Sun H 88° L 72° Weather Sponsored By:

Father answers permitting-abuse charge

Father answers permitting-abuse charge

June 12th, 2019 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

(Left) McKenna Belcher-Cawley, 26. (Right) Everette Cawley, 23.

Photo by Submitted to the Texarkana Gazette /Texarkana Gazette.

A father accused in the death of his 3-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to permitting the abuse of a minor.

Everette Cawley, 23, and his wife, McKenna Faith Belcher, 26, were arrested in April after Cawley's daughter, McKinley Cawley died, allegedly from physical injuries caused by Belcher. Belcher is charged with capital murder in McKinley's death and with second-degree domestic battery for injuries discovered on Cawley's 2-year-old son.

Cawley pleaded not guilty to one count of permitting the abuse of a minor involving his daughter, McKinley, and not guilty to a second count involving his son at a hearing before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom in a courtroom at the Miller County jail. Belcher is scheduled to appear for arraignment before Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson later this month.

Belcher is being held without bail. Cawley's bail is set at $1 million.

McKinley died of blunt force injuries hours after her father ran through the emergency room doors of a Texarkana hospital carrying her unconscious body. The gravely injured child was airlifted from CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System to Children's Medical Center in Little Rock where she died less than 12 hours later.

Hospital staff immediately suspected abuse was to blame for the youngster's dire medical condition and contacted police when she was brought for treatment at about 4:30 a.m. April 2. McKinley's suffering included a traumatic brain injury and "excessive bruising to the face and torso which is far beyond any over-active child and patterned to suggest use of a rigid object," the affidavit states. Belcher allegedly threw, kicked, stomped and beat McKinley in the days and hours before her death while Cawley allegedly failed to protect her, according to authorities.

External injuries similar to those seen on McKinley were found on the 2-yea-old boy's face, torso and legs, which doctors hypothesized they were caused by a "blunt type instrument/object" and are described as bruising all along his face and limbs. The couple's infant, born Jan. 30, was in need of medical attention as well.

The girl had a severe yeast infection "under her neck skin fold," which was bleeding at the time she was taken into state custody.

Cawley faces five to 20 years if found guilty of permitting the abuse of a minor resulting in death as he is charged in connection with McKinley. If found guilty of permitting the abuse of his son, Cawley faces up to six years in prison. Belcher faces five to 20 years in prison if found guilty of second-degree domestic battery involving her stepson. If convicted of capital murder, Belcher faces life without parole or death by lethal injection.


Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com