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Grandmother accused of watching her daughter stab 4-year-old grandson to death and waiting a day to report it to police

Mary Noble Johnson (Henderson County Jail)

Mary Noble Johnson (Henderson County Jail)

A grandmother, accused of watching her daughter allegedly stab her 4-year-old son to death and wait until the next day to call the police, has been arrested.

Mary Noble Johnson, 64, was taken into custody on Monday and charged with one count of abandoning or endangering a child in connection with the slaying of young Grayson Hurt, jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Johnson’s daughter, 43-year-old Monica Nicole Figueroa, was also arrested on Monday. She is charged with one count of capital murder in her son’s death.

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

Police found the boy’s body “partially covered with a blanket” inside the front door.

APD obtained a search warrant for the residence, and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Children Task Force was called to assist in investigating Hurt’s death. Following a preliminary investigation, authorities determined that Figueroa likely killed Hurt using “an edged weapon.”

Additionally, the investigation revealed that Figueroa had allegedly stabbed the boy to death in front of Johnson the previous afternoon.

Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse told Nacogdoches CBS affiliate KYTX that Johnson admitted to 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.”

Police say that despite the horrific scene she witnessed, Johnson waited until the following day before returning to her daughter’s house, found her grandson dead and called the police.

It is unclear what prompted Figueroa to allegedly kill her son or why Johnson waited nearly a day before contacting the authorities for help. Hillhouse said Figueroa confessed to the alleged murder.

Other agencies 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 and Johnson are both currently incarcerated in Henderson County Jail. Figueroa is being held without bond, while Johnson’s bond was $250,000.

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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.