Tyler nurse accused of repeatedly abusing special needs child

Jessica Renee Fowler, 35, was charged with injury to the disable/elderly/child.
Jessica Renee Fowler, 35, was charged with injury to the disable/elderly/child.(Smith County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:16 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:33 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Tyler Police Department arrested a woman after a mother reported she believed she was injuring her special needs, medically-fragile child.

According to an arrest affidavit, the suspect tied the child’s arm behind the child’s back, throwing her hard into her crib, and other actions to hurt her.

Jessica Renee Fowler, 35, of Tyler, was arrested March 7, and charged with injury to a child. The case against Fowler, the child’s nighttime nurse, was brought about after the child’s mother saw injury to her daughter’s right arm, according the arrest affidavit.

The mother told the police investigator that the child, who we’ll call Jane, is right-arm dominant and usually sucks her right thumb. She noticed that Jane’s arm was hanging limply by her side, and the daytime nurse noted that she was not sucking that thumb. They noticed bruises, as well.

The mother had a nurse practitioner check the Jane’s arm. While she waited, she went through videos captured by the NEST camera that is in the child’s room. She then said that she saw Fowler abusing Jane during the night on the video, 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. She did other harmful things to cause Jane pain, as well, according to the arrest affidavit. Her demeanor showed disdain for Jane and annoyance with her, the affidavit said.

The affidavit also states that it was clear Fowler knew what she was doing was harmful and wrong because when she would hear a door open in the house she would rush to Jane’s crib and untie her arm, checking for obvious marks with her iPhone flashlight.

The nighttime nurse confirmed to the investigator that the way Jane was handled in the videos was extremely rough and inappropriate for handling a child, especially a medically-fragile child. He demonstrated for the investigator appropriate gentle handling of the child.

Fowler, who is a registered nurse, agreed to call to arrange a time to speak with the investigator in person. However, Fowler did not call or show up. Instead, a lawyer called on her behalf saying she would not be going to the police station to speak to the investigator.

Fowler was arrested on March 7 and her bond was set at $200,000. She bonded out the same day.

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