MILAM COUNTY, TX — The bond set for a suspect charged with capital murder in the death of a 20-month-old Rockdale girl is now $3 million, Milam County prosecutors said.
The Milam County District Attorney's Office had previously said prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a woman indicted on a capital murder charge after a 20-month-old was found dead in December 2018 in Rockdale.
Rockdale police said they began their initial investigation after receiving the 911 call where they found 20-month-old Patricia Ann "Annie" Rader dead.
According to the arrest affidavit, Boniello admitted to punching, slapping, shaking and squeezing the baby until she was motionless. The affidavit said Boniello told police she squeezed the victim until she felt her bones begin to pop and crush out of anger and frustration. She said she did it for at least three minutes.
The affidavit stated the baby was found dead with scratches, bruising and swollen knots on her head, neck, arms, stomach and legs. This happened while the child's grandfather was at work, according to police.
Boniello goes by Shayla Boniello and is a transgender woman, police say.
Thomas and Rachel Bond, the great uncle and great aunt of Annie, said Boniello was dating the toddler's grandfather, Michael Matthews.
According to the Department of Family and Protected Services, a Milam County Judge appointed Matthews as Annie's guardian on May 4, 2018.
Thomas and Rachel said Boniello moved in with the grandfather at a home in the 700 block of San Gabriel Street in November.
The couple said they only interacted with Boniello twice, including Thanksgiving.
"She acted like she loved the baby. She acted like she was there to take care of her," Thomas said.
They said they were shocked to find out the 30-year-old committed the crime.
"It was horrible. We were completely devastated. Our hearts are completely broken," Rachel said.
They have been advocating for the District Attorney to pursue the death penalty since they learned about the murder.
"Until we get a death penalty conviction for him, we won't stop. This has consumed us every day we wake up," Rachel said. "He showed Annie absolutely no mercy while he sat her and beat her to death so he deserves no mercy."
Police said Boniello put the baby in further danger by smoking marijuana in the presence of the baby. During a search of the home, marijuana and pipes were found next to the bed where the baby had been, the affidavit said.