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Waco father turns himself in after toddler dies from gunshot wounds

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Posted at 10:28 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 11:28:18-04

WACO, Texas — A Waco father has turned himself into authorities after being charged with injury to a child by omission, police said.

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Jaylon Thorton, 24, was wanted in connection to the shooting death of his 22-month-old daughter, Zillyana Thorton, according to the Waco Police Department.

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Police said the incident had occurred around 3 p.m. Saturday at a residence near the 3500 Block of Alta Vista.

At this time, authorities have still not determined exactly how the shooting occurred.

However, initial investigations have revealed that the gun had been laying out on a couch prior to the incident.

Police said a family member of Thorton had failed to supervise the weapon, adding that it was neither stored in a holster nor did it have any other external safeties.

The gun was later found to have been stolen out of Corpus Christi, Waco police said.

Authorities noted that had Thorton sought medical attention sooner for his daughter, she "would have had a better chance for survival."

Video evidence has since confirmed Thorton delayed seeking medical attention for Zillyana by at least six minutes.

The video shows Thorton entering his car to take Zillyana to the hospital.

However, Torton then quickly exits to retrieve a backpack of marijuana, telling a family member to leave with it using his vehicle.

25-year-old Elias Espinosa has since been arrested for tampering with evidence, police said.

Espinosa was later determined to be the owner of the stolen firearm used in Zillyana's shooting death, Waco police said.

He now faces an additional charge of murder due to child endangerment.

Police said Thorton then waited for Zillyana's mother to arrive to use her vehicle.

However, Thorton would delay seeking medical attention for his daughter a second time after running back inside to get his house keys.

An autopsy has since revealed that Zillyana's wounds were not immediately fatal and that her heart continued beating for 33 minutes after being shot.

Waco P.D. said this murder marks the 14th homicide this year.