Mom accused of murder after bringing dead daughter to hospital tries to hang herself in cell

The 5-year-old girl's brother died earlier this year, and their father died in 2016.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A Louisiana woman who was charged with murder days after bringing her dead 5-year-old daughter to the hospital tried to kill herself in jail Thursday morning, according to police.

Jasmine Anderson, 24, was hospitalized in serious condition Friday after she tried to hang herself in her cell at the Rapides Parish jail, Assistant Warden Gerald Carmouche told NBC News.

Carmouche said Anderson was on suicide watch, and an officer was assigned to check on her every 15 minutes. She was found unresponsive on the floor of her cell minutes after a check.

"She flat-lined, but they were able to get a pulse before they took her to the hospital," Alexandria Police Department Cpl. Wade Bourgeois said.

Anderson was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Audrey Lynn Chelette. Police said she brought the girl to the hospital July 17, saying the child had suffered a neck injury in a car accident, but doctors determined the child was already dead.

An autopsy confirmed Audrey died of a neck injury, according to police, but the injury "did not seem consistent with what would occur during a crash."

Kendra Foster, Audrey's grandmother, told NBC News that the child had a 4-inch slit on her throat, but "not a mark" on the rest of her body.

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Audrey Lynn Chelette, 5, of Alexandria, Louisiana.via Gallagher Funeral Home

Evidence also showed the scene where Anderson said the accident happened was not that of a car crash, according to police.

Anderson is being held on $500,000 bail, according to jail records. Her lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following Anderson's arrest, Bourgeois said the department would be looking into the death in April of Anderson's son, and the death in 2016 of the father of both children.

Anderson's son, Christopher Dawayne Chelette Jr., died at the age of 4 in April, according to an obituary from Gallagher Funeral Home in Ball. Bourgeois said that officers responded to a call about a child with a bottle cap stuck in his throat before the boy died at Rapides Regional Hospital.

Audrey and the boy's father, Christopher Dawayne Chelette, died at the age of 20 in 2016, according to another obituary from Gallagher Funeral Home. Foster said investigators told her that Chelette, her son, had hanged himself.

Anderson "was present with all three of them in their death," Foster said.

Jasmine AndersonRapides Parish Jail

She said family members had repeatedly called the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, fearing that Anderson wasn't in the mental state to properly care for the children.

A department spokeswoman said the agency "cannot comment on or acknowledge the existence of a possible abuse or neglect investigation involving a child" due to state confidentiality restrictions.

But according to a 2017 Pineville Police Department report, Anderson had tried to give her children to two strangers on the side of the road. When officers arrived, the pair told them Anderson "seemed unstable, and they were concerned for her children's welfare," the police report said.

They said Anderson had said "she wanted to kill herself" and "give her children in the lake or river."

She told officers that "she had been going through a lot of hardships in her life" and "began talking about religion and a new beginning," the report said.

Anderson was hospitalized and underwent a psychological evaluation, Pineville Police Deputy Chief Darrell Basco told NBC News. A family member took temporary custody of the kids.

She had previously been arrested in 2014 on a "disturbing the peace" citation after a "small disturbance" between her and Chelette Sr. in a Walmart, Basco said. She was subsequently arrested for failing to pay a fine related to that incident.