UPDATE: Older sibling removed from mother as 1-year-old’s death investigated

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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Police do not plan on re-arresting a local woman after her 1-year-old child died last week following possible exposure to an illegal drug-like substance, authorities said.

Ava Chambers, 30, was arrested May 14 and charged with injury to a child after the Port Arthur Police Department responded to an emergency situation at a local medical clinic.

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said police believe an incident first occurred at Normandy Apartments in Port Arthur. A call was then made to 9-1-1 regarding a 1-year-old at Exceptional Emergency Center in Port Arthur, where the child was suspected of having been exposed to what is believed to be an illegal substance.

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It was reported the young girl was found holding a small, clear bag and having a white substance around her nose, which resulted in cardiac arrest.

The child was taken to The Medical Center of Southeast Texas and later to a hospital in Houston.

Following Chambers’ arrest May 14, she bonded out of custody the next day.

Det. Ahmaal Bodden said Port Arthur Police received a call from Texas Children’s in Houston on May 18 advising all efforts to resuscitate the toddler failed.

“The 1-year-old was later pronounced dead at the hospital,” Bodden said.

Authorities said the child died Thursday.

Authorities have also not released the victim’s name. Duriso said that would be done this week.

Duriso said once authorities receive autopsy and toxicology results, detectives will present the findings to the district attorney’s office and a charging determination will be made.

“I am not sure if the charge will be elevated or not, because we made the arrest for what we thought was an accurate charge,” Duriso said Tuesday morning.

He could not comment on if detectives have spoke with the victim’s mother since the child’s death.

Shari Pulliam with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said her office is working the case alongside law enforcement, adding law enforcement is the lead on this investigation.

“There is an older sibling that was placed with a family member in another state,” Pulliam said. “She is safe there currently.”

According to Pulliam, CPS investigations are confidential and no other information can be shared about any other past calls for service with the family.