KEY POINTS

  • Melynda Davis was indicted on one charge of murder over her 4-year-old stepdaughter's death
  • The girl, I’Yanna Allen, was allegedly strangled and suffocated with an ammonia-soaked towel
  • Prosecutors believe Davis had been abusing Allen for months prior to her death

A woman has been charged with murder after she allegedly killed her 4-year-old stepdaughter in their Harris County, Texas apartment last year by suffocating her with an ammonia-soaked towel.

Melynda Davis was indicted on one charge of murder by a Harris County grand jury last week over the Nov. 2020 death of her boyfriend's daughter, I’Yanna Allen, in Huffman, newspaper The Houston Chronicle reported.

Davis had initially been charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence after police found Allen with blunt force trauma at an apartment in the 11200 block of East FM 1960, according to the outlet. The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Allen was found to have suffered lacerations and whip marks all over her body, ABC13 reported, citing court documents. Authorities also believe Davis used an ammonia-soaked towel to suffocate the child.

"The injuries were horrible... they were unthinkable," Assistant District Attorney Gilbert Sawtelle was quoted as saying by the outlet.

"She had burns all over her face and strangulation marks under her neck," the prosecutor said.

Investigators believe Davis attacked Allen with an unspecified blunt object before strangling and suffocating her with the towel, according to court documents. She then proceeded to hide the child's onesie, a towel and dog training pads to conceal the crime.

Phone records helped investigators piece together the case, Sawtelle said. He added that an autopsy report also helped authorities seal the murder charge.

Davis had texted the child's father and told him she was going to discipline the girl because she had wet herself, court documents showed. A further search through Davis' phone records detailed even more what she allegedly did to her stepdaughter.

"She's looking up Google searches on how to deal with ammonia bruises, whether or not someone can inhale ammonia, and how to treat that," Sawtelle said.

Prosecutors believe Davis had been abusing Allen for months prior to her death.

Davis was arrested in November and she has remained at the Harris County Jail on a combined $200,000 bond for her initial charges. She was previously convicted of two felony forgery charges in 2008.

Davis is expected to appear before court again in August.

blogger-336371_1920 Representation. Phone records allegedly helped investigators piece together 4-year-old I’Yanna Allen's death. Photo: Pixabay