Special to the Grove Sun
TULSA — The mother of a toddler who died Tuesday of shaken-baby syndrome was widowed in February when her husband drowned near McAllen, Texas, the child’s maternal great-grandmother said.
Emily Hernandez of Kansas, OK, died Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa after being on life support for a day.
Roger L. Dry, 35, of Eucha, who was the boyfriend of the child’s mother, Mary Bartleson, has been charged in the death.
The brown-haired and brown-eyed toddler meant the world to her father, Fernando Hernandez-Rivera, said Elinor Bartleson, Emily’s maternal great-grandmother.
"He would call her his little princess,” said Bartleson, of Tulsa. "She was real pretty.”
Mary Bartleson’s mother, Cindy Sixkiller, died in January 2008, Elinor Bartleson said.
Funeral services for Emily Hernandez are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Galilean Church in Kansas, the same church where in February family members had a memorial service for Fernando Hernandez-Rivera.
"She is understandably very upset. She thinks she is losing everything,” Bartleson said. "First her mother, and then her husband and daughter both in the same year.”
Dry is charged in Delaware County District Court with first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bail.
Handcuffed and dressed in orange jail clothes, Dry appeared in court Thursday where he waived the reading of the charges. He was ordered to return Tuesday, records show.
Dry told authorities that while he was alone Monday with the child at her mother’s house in rural Colcord, the toddler began crying and wouldn’t stop so he spanked and shook her, a court affidavit states.
The toddler vomited on Dry, so he shook her violently several times, the affidavit states. Dry laid her on the bed on her stomach. Mary Bartleson found the girl not breathing, the affidavit states.
District Attorney Eddie Wyant said Thursday he hadn’t decided if he will seek the death penalty.
Beth Scott, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, declined to say whether there had been DHS inquiries at that home.