Report: Father cleared in toddler’s death after her brother, 7, confesses

FORT WORTH, Texas — A capital murder charge against a North Texas man in the 2015 death of his 2-year-old daughter has been dismissed after prosecutors learned her older brother admitted causing the death.

Anthony Michael Sanders was accused of smothering Ellie Mae Sanders at their home in the Fort Worth suburb of Watauga. Investigators believed Sanders held his hand over her mouth out of anger for her interrupting his computer games.

Jailed since April 2016, Sanders denied responsibility. He said he found his daughter not breathing after his son, then 5, reported she wouldn’t wake up.


Anthony Sanders was cleared in the death of his two-year-old daughter after the child’s 7-year-old brother confessed


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports prosecutors learned in August the boy, now 7, had told his mother that he had hit his sister with a pillow and the pillow was too heavy to remove from the girl’s head. Court documents obtained by the newspaper say the boy cried as he confessed to prosecutors in an interview at his home on Aug. 29.

An arrest affidavit  for Sanders obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said the girl had bruises all over her body and around her eyes, blood behind her ear and two bite marks that appeared to be from an adult on her back.

Tim Moore, Sanders’ defense attorney, told the Star-Telegram his client was “elated” that the charge was dropped.

“He has denied it from the beginning,” Moore told the paper.

A medical examiner said he could not discount the possibility that the boy smothered his sister, according to court documents obtained by the paper.

“It’s possible that there is enough of a difference in the strength of a 5-year-old to overpower a 2-year-old,” Dr. Marc Krouse with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said, according to the documents.

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office told the paper it wasn’t commenting on the case or its dismissal at this time.

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