East Texas family says toddler's parents disappeared after his death

"I was there. He took his last breath in my arms," ETX toddler's great-grandmother says
Braylyn Sheppard, Brianna Jones are wanted on a warrant for injury to a child. (Source: Caldwell family)
Braylyn Sheppard, Brianna Jones are wanted on a warrant for injury to a child. (Source: Caldwell family)

PANOLA COUNTY, TX (KSLA) - Contusions to his head and face, internal injuries and wounds that would severely limit anyone, especially a 2-year-old boy.

That's what medical personnel pointed out to Panola County, Texas, sheriff's deputies when Kai'syn Sheppard was taken to the emergency room March 11.

"I was there, he took his last breath in my arms," said Sherell Caldwell, Kai'syn's great-grandmother.

"The doctor said he was unresponsive when they picked him up, and they said he had an asthma attack. But when I got back there to see him, that wasn't no asthma attack."

That was the excuse given by Kai'syn Sheppard's parents, Braylyn Sheppard and Brianna Jones.

"The week before spring break, she asked to keep him." Sherell Caldwell said. "Before I told her that, I said nothing is wrong with him, and I need you to bring him back like that."

Taken in by his great-grandmother at just 5 days old, Caldwell says Kai'syn was only visiting his parents when he was brought to the University of Texas Carthage emergency room.

He died 4 days later after being taken to Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

"It was unbearable. I didn't send him off like that," Caldwell said,

Since then, authorities say the parents are nowhere to be found. They're wanted on a charge of injury to a child.

"We feel we have a clear case. They failed to seek medical attention for an injury that possibly death could have been prevented if they had just sought medical attention earlier," said Panola County Sheriff Kevin Love.

Investigators say the parents did not attend Kai'syn's funeral.

"Them not showing up for the interview throws red flags," the sheriff said.

"But not showing up to your own child's funeral, that's pretty good evidence as far as I'm concerned."

It's something Kai'syn's great-grandmother and an uncle believe is highly suspicious.

"They're guilty, they know they did it," Markoay Caldwell said. "You wouldn't run if you didn't.

"You would try to get your name out of it and claim yourself. But the way that you're going, you know you did it."

Deputies believe the parents still are in East Texas, just not Panola County

Authorities urge anyone with any information about Sheppard, Jones or the Chevrolet Tahoe to call the Sheriff's Office at (903) 693-0333.

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