WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls father is behind bars after his two-year-old daughter was found dead in his home which police described as “a home with horrible filth.”
Garrett Lloyd Wayne Jos Gestes was arrested and charged with abandoning or endangering a child on November 22, 2022.
According to court documents, Wichita Falls Police Department, paramedics, and Wichita Falls Fire Department responded to a call about a dead 2-year-old in the 1600 block of Longview on December 20, 2020, at 9:20 a.m.
When officers entered the house they discovered a deceased 2-year-old female laying face up on the kitchen floor with blood coming from her nose and mouth. The officers also said they were “instantly taken back by the smell of rotten food and general filth.” They noted that the entire house was covered in spoiled food, dirty clothes, empty soda cans and dirty dishes, according to the arrest affidavit.
The officers considered the two-year-old’s death as “suspicious”, according to the arrest affidavit.
When the officers spoke with Gestes and his wife outside the home they said that they had gone out to eat as a family the night before and came home around 9 p.m. They said their daughter had fallen asleep on the way home so they put her in bed with her siblings. Gestes stated that both he and his wife went to bed around 2 a.m. and everything was fine. Gestes’ wife told officers that she checked on the children several times between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. They both claimed the victim was not sick nor did she have any underlying health conditions.
During the interview, officers learned that there were three other children in the home at the time of the two-year-old’s death, a 6-year-old female, a 3-year-old female who was listed as autistic and non-verbal in court records, and a 2-month-old male.
The report states the 6-year-old was taken to Patsy’s House and during her interview, she claimed that her sister appeared to be getting sick a few days prior to her death. She also said that she had found her sister in bed with “purple stuff” coming from her mouth on the morning of her death and had seen the victim the previous night with “purple stuff” on her hands and around her mouth and neck. She said her sister wasn’t acting sick but had “purple stuff on her occasionally.
It was during this same interview that the 6-year-old told police that she had gone “dashing” with her father the night before. She also said that she heard her mother and father talking, saying they were scared that something was wrong with her sister. She mentioned her father was crying and her mother told him “they’d see in the morning.”
According to the report, the 6-year-old said the victim was allergic to the purple medicine “because it caused her to have the purple stuff before.”
When the detective interviewed Gestes and his wife, he said their stories did not match and that Gestes admitted to lying several times, refused to cooperate and left the interview.
Detectives later located video from the night before the 2-year-old’s death from a neighbor’s video security system and revealed that Gestes’ wife left the house at 7:29 p.m. to go to a bar to have drinks with friends and did not return until 12:22 a.m.
From the video, they also discovered that Gestes left the home at 7:53 p.m. with the 6-year-old and 2-month-old. When detectives checked Gestes Door Dash records, they learned that he had made three deliveries and returned home at 10:51 p.m. leaving the 3-year-old and 2-year-old home alone for about 3 hours.
It was noted that officers took both Gestes and his wife’s phones and that the text messages between Gestes and his wife had been deleted from her phone before it was taken.
The little girl was sent for autopsy which came back as “undetermined”. When detectives spoke with the lab they were told there were no signs of trauma or asphyxiation and the victim did not have a disease or any organ failure that would have killed her. After running full toxicology, microbiology and histology they could not find a cause of death.
According to records, the lab noted that the victim tested positive for COVID-19 but were able to rule that out as a cause of death and stated she might have been asymptomatic.
Gestes was charged with abandoning or endangering a child with imminent danger of bodily injury and abandoning endangering a child with intent to return and is currently being held in Wichita County jail on bonds totaling $200,000.