Authorities say 19-month old Aaliyah Thomas, a happy baby who loved Disney characters Minnie Mouse and Doc McStuffins, died after her father inflicted blunt force injuries on her.
Lancaster police say Daniel Thomas, 34, called 911 and said his daughter fell while playing. But police say his story didn't add up and the medical examiner's office ruled her death a homicide.
Police arrested Thomas, who was a city of Dallas employee in its Parks and Recreation Department. He has no apparent criminal history in Dallas. Records show he was twice arrested in Houston years ago on misdemeanor theft charges. Thomas has no Child Protective Services history.
He has two other children, ages 8 and 6, who are now in foster care.
Aaliyah's mother, Lakeshia Henry, said her daughter "was a happy, playful baby. Real friendly."
"She loved church," she said. "For her to be so young, she would be at church and she would be like, 'Hallelujah,' clapping and singing."
Henry said she had broken up with Aaliyah's father by the time he was accused of killing her.
“It was hard to kind of wrap my head around at first," she said. "You’re her dad, you’re supposed to protect her and love her and make sure nobody hurts her. To come back and say it wasn’t an accident, it really hurt.”