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In-Home Nurse Allegedly Caught in ‘Very Disturbing’ Videos ‘Tossing’ Special Needs Child Like a ‘Rag Doll’

Jessica Renee Fowler (Smith County Jail)

Jessica Renee Fowler (Smith County Jail)

An in-home nurse in Texas was arrested after she physically and mentally abused a child with disabilities and special needs on several occasions, police say.

Jessica Renee Fowler, 35, faces one count of injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person with the intent to cause bodily harm, online records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Officers with the Tyler Police Department took Fowler into custody on Monday, March 7 and booked in the Smith County Jail. She was released later that same day after posting $200,000 bond.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Tyler CBS/CW affiliate KYTX, Fowler had been serving as a night nurse for the victim, when she was caught on film treating the child like a “rag doll.” The victim, who is functionally immobile and non-verbal, reportedly suffers from hip dysplasia and kidney failure.

The victim’s daytime nurse allegedly became suspicious of Fowler after noticing an injury to her victim’s dominant right arm. Per Tyler ABC/Telemundo affiliate KLTV, the nurse said he knew something was wrong when he saw that the girl was not sucking her right thumb as she did most of the time. The nurse told the mother, who also reportedly noticed that her daughter’s right arm was just “hanging limply by her side.” The mother and the daytime nurse both reportedly noticed several bruises on the girl’s arm as well.

The daytime nurse reportedly examined the girl’s arm while the mother reviewed footage from a Nest surveillance camera she had installed inside of her daughter’s room. Upon viewing the recordings, the mother reportedly said she came across multiple instances of Fowler physically abusing her daughter in a series of horrific ways.

The mother reportedly said she watched Fowler abuse her daughter “by tying her arm behind her back in bed, by dropping her legs forcefully during diaper changes, which affected the child’s hips, and by extending her arm out on the crib mattress, placing a Boppy pillow over the arm, and pressing down forcefully on it to hurt the child,” per KLTV.

The recordings also allegedly captured Fowler “tossing the child from the bottom of the bed to the top of the bed,” and “pushing the girl’s right arm behind her head and applying overpressure multiple times,” according to KYTX.

In documents filed in Smith County District Court, police reportedly referred to the contents of 45 out of the 53 total videos as “very disturbing.”

In addition to the physical abuse, Fowler also intentionally disconnected an alarm attached to the child’s heart rate monitor that is meant to alert caregivers when the child is in pain, distress, or in need of medical attention.

Investigators reportedly said that it was clear Fowler knew her behavior was wrong based on her alleged attempts to conceal what she was doing to the victim from her mother. In the videos, when the victim’s mother could be heard approaching the room, Fowler would allegedly “rush” to the girl’s crib, untie her limbs, and use her cell phone flashlight to make sure the ligatures did not leave any visible marks.

Fowler reportedly told investigators she had been a nurse for approximately six years and a registered nurse for approximately three years. The daytime nurse also reviewed the Nest tapes and reportedly told police that Fowler’s treatment of the little girl was “extremely rough and inappropriate.”

[image via Smith County Jail]

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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.