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‘And then the screaming stopped’: Texas woman accused of stabbing 4-year-old son to death in front of her own mother

Monica Nicole Figueroa (Henderson County Sheriff's Office)

Monica Nicole Figueroa (Henderson County Sheriff’s Office)

A 43-year-old mother in Texas has been arrested after she allegedly confessed to killing her 4-year-old son, stabbing the boy to death inside their family home while her own mother watched.

Monica Nicole Figueroa was taken into custody on Monday and charged with one count of capital murder of a person under 10 years of age in the slaying of young Grayson Hurt, jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a press release from the Athens Police Department, officers at approximately 6:41 a.m. on March 13 responded to a call from Figueroa’s mother, Mary Johnson, requesting a wellness check at her daughter’s residence located in the 300 block of Mitchell Street. Johnson told the emergency dispatcher that she was afraid her daughter may have harmed her grandson, police say.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders say they initially located Figueroa before entering the residence along with emergency medical personnel. Authorities then discovered Hurt’s body, which was located just inside the door and “partially covered with a blanket,” the release states.

Police quickly obtained a search warrant for the Mitchell Street residence and contacted the Henderson County Crimes Against Children Task Force to assist in the investigation into Hurt’s death. Following a preliminary investigation, authorities determined that Figueroa allegedly killed Hurt using “an edged weapon.”

An autopsy is currently scheduled to be performed by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas.

As to what may have led Figueroa to allegedly kill Hurt, authorities say they are still unsure. However, authorities say that she confessed to the murder shortly after being taken into custody.

“She really didn’t give any motive or reasons why,” Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse told Nacogdoches CBS affiliate KYTX.

The sheriff said that Figueroa’s mother told investigators that on Sunday afternoon she saw her daughter holding a wooden-handled knife and cutting at what appeared to be a rolled-up blanket.

“Johnson heard the child screaming before she observed Figueroa cutting at the blanket and then the screaming stopped,” Sheriff Hillhouse told the station. “Figueroa threatened Johnson and instructed her to leave which she did.”

When Johnson returned the next morning, she reportedly told authorities that she found her grandson deceased and called 911.

Other agencies that are assisting in the ongoing joint investigation into Hurt’s murder include the Henderson County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers, and Child Protective Services.

“It is still a very fluid investigation, there’s still a lot of moving parts, [we’ve] still got a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together, but that’s pretty much where we are right now.”

Figueroa is currently being held at the Henderson County Jail without bond as she awaits her arraignment.

The sheriff reportedly told KYTX that while Figueroa has an unspecified number of other children, Hurt was the only child present in the home as she had lost custody of her other kids.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.