A 12-year-old boy is facing a murder charge in the mysterious death of his 6-year-old cousin outside their home in River Oaks, Texas, this week.
Police have not disclosed the cause of death for Isabella Courtney, who sustained undisclosed injuries on Wednesday night before passing away at a local hospital. But a boy who Isabella’s parents described as like a brother to her was immediately detained at the scene.
The boy, who has not been identified, is charged with delinquent-conduct murder. On Thursday, a judge ordered the boy detained at the Lynn W. Ross Juvenile Detention Center until his next detention hearing in five days.
It remains unclear what led police to charge the boy with murder.
Isabella’s parents, Steven and April Courtney, who also hold custody of the 12-year-old, told the court on Thursday that the relationship between their daughter and the 12-year-old boy was akin to that of brother and sister. Other children were reportedly present at the time of Courtney’s death, and neighbors said they saw children’s toys in the yard.
In a GoFundMe page set up to cover funeral expenses, family friend Heather Canedo described Bella Courtney’s death as an accident.
“They are faced with every parents worse nightmare. Their youngest daughter, Bella, was taken from them last night due to an accident at home,” Canedo wrote.
“They don’t get any worse than this,” River Oaks Police Chief Christopher Spieldenner told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“This is one of the most traumatic type of calls that police officers, dispatchers and call takers can be involved in. It’s extremely emotional and not only for just the police department but for the community and this family. It’s absolutely tragic,” he told reporters.
Spieldenner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.