2-year-old girl dead after dad takes her out of day care, attacks her mom before chase, deputies say

Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Little girl dies as result of dad's actions during chase, standoff
Eyewitness News is getting a first look at the little 2-year-old girl who died after deputies say her father took her, led a chase, and then a standoff.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A toddler is dead after what started as a domestic disturbance in northwest Harris County. What followed was a short chase before a standoff in a field.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, deputies initially took a call about a family disturbance on Monday at about 10:15 a.m. A man, believed to be the biological dad of a 2-year-old, went into a private day care and took the little girl. Relatives identified the girl as Zevaya Flanagan.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the man then went into a nearby Walmart, where the child's mother works, and confronted her, asking for her phone and passcode and threatening to hurt the child.

The mother complied and tried to rescue her daughter but was unable to, according to Gonzalez.

The suspect allegedly hit the mother multiple times in the face and left with her phone before driving off in a red Camaro, prompting a chase with deputies.

Deputies said that at some point during the chase, the mom was able to FaceTime the suspect to try to get him to stop, but failed.

The car finally came to a stop at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church near Stuebner Airline and Veterans Memorial, sparking a standoff. Officers surrounded the vehicle and after about 20 minutes, they moved in. The toddler was rushed from the car by authorities, and then the driver was yanked out to be taken into custody.

The sheriff identified the person arrested after the standoff as 25-year-old Deontray Flanagan, who has been charged with murder and is in the Harris County Jail.

Flanagan told investigators the toddler sustained her injuries from being tossed around during the chase, but sources tell ABC13 she had severe head trauma. Additionally, there were reports she was being choked during the pursuit. An autopsy will determine exactly how she died.

The child was "seriously injured" after the chase, according to Gonzalez. Life Flight was then called to the scene to transport the toddler to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

WATCH: Sheriff gives update on standoff with chase suspect who 'seriously injured' his child

WATCH: Sheriff Ed Gonzalez gives an update on the standoff with the chase suspect who seriously injured his 2-year-old daughter.

A woman who witnessed some of the events unfold told ABC13 she was hit by the suspect in the vehicle.

"I was sitting at the light at Kuykendahl and FM 1960. There was a car in front of me and I seen the trail of police coming," Sandra Friends said. "I'm looking to get over and all I feel is a car sideswipe me."

"He backs out after he hit me and goes through the light and all I see is the police follow him," she continued. "I just end up stopping to call 911."

"You know, a very horrific situation out here. A lot of things transpired and like I said, our biggest hope is that the child somehow pulls through," Gonzalez said.

Chase-standoff suspect's criminal history

The 25-year-old father has a criminal history dating back to 2017.

According to court records, Flanagan was charged with evading arrest nearly six years ago.

In 2018, he was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member and sentenced to 30 days in jail. During the same year, he was also charged with criminal mischief for driving a car into someone's home. Records show he is still on probation for that charge.