Samantha Ellis faces a count of felony neglect. According to court documents, Ellis “did knowingly place” her daughter, 3-year-old Carmen Ellis, in a situation that “did endanger the life or health” of the little girl. Investigators said Ellis failed to seek medical treatment for her daughter or remove her from abuse at the hand of her boyfriend, Jose Cruz.
By doing so, investigators said, Ellis contributed to the little girl’s death.
Cruz was arrested and charged with murder shortly after Carmen died. Medics called to their apartment on August 21 found Carmen with bruises all over her body. She later died at the hospital, and the coroner ruled her death a homicide.
According to court documents, Ellis acknowledged that her daughter would often have unexplained bruises when she left her in Cruz’s care. When she asked Cruz about the marks, Cruz “would always have an excuse” for the bruises. When Ellis would tell Cruz that she wanted to take Carmen to the hospital, Cruz would tell her not to, saying the “bruises would heal themselves.”
Ellis told detectives she never sought help on her own because she was afraid Cruz would take it out on her.
According to court documents, detectives also talked to family members and acquaintances of Ellis who saw bruises on the girl’s body.