3-year-old ‘accidentally smothered’

A three-year-old girl who died overnight Jan. 6-7 at a Wilcox Street residence was “accidentally smothered,” according to an autopsy report from the Travis County Medical Examiner.

Rockdale police say no charges are expected to be filed in connection with the death of Mercedes Curtis.

“The final autopsy report lists suffocation as the cause of death and also finds the death was accidental,” Lt. J. D. Newlin told The Reporter on Tuesday.

Newlin said police have discussed the case with the Milam County Prosecutor’s Office and do not anticipate any criminal charges being filed.

He said the findings led police to believe the child was accidentally smothered during the night.

Police said Mercedes, the daughter of Veronica Vega and Joshua Curtis, was living with her mother and other family members at a Wilcox Street address where the incident occurred.

“She had been asleep on a couch during the night,” Newlin said. “Mercedes had a twin sister and two brothers. When the family began to wake up the next morning, one of the children told the mother’s boyfriend that one of the kids had a nosebleed.”

Newlin said police interviewed the boyfriend.

“He told us that he went to check on the other children and when he touched Mercedes she was cold and her lips were blue,” Newlin said.

The family called police and Ofc. Steven Cooper responded and performed CPR on the child.

“She was then rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead,” Newlin said.

Police suspected accidental suffocation might have been the cause of death from the start but wanted to wait until a formal autopsy was performed to rule out other possible causes, including illness or some other kind of medical condition.

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