The Knoxville mother accused in the 2019 hot-car death of her 6-month-old boy had sent text messages in the months before to the child’s father threatening to kill him, the child and herself “because she couldn’t handle it anymore,” state records state.
A Tennessee woman accused of knowingly leaving her 6-month-old son in a hot car to die will appear in court today, as her lawyers seek to suppress some of the state’s evidence against her, PEOPLE confirms through online records.
At today’s hearing, a judge will consider a defense motion to suppress certain evidence from Chantae Armstrong’s upcoming trial on first-degree murder, felony murder and aggravated child neglect charges — all stemming from the death of her infant son, Jovany Morales, more than a year ago.
Authorities allege that Armstrong — also known as Chantae Cabrera — purposely left the baby in the backseat of a car that was parked outside her work in West Knoxville on August 9, 2019.
Temperatures reached the mid-90s that day, according to weather data.
Armstrong allegedly told police she thought she had dropped the child off at daycare before heading to her job. Citing state records, WBIR-TV has reported that Armstrong told police she drove to a grocery store after work, and, as she was looking over her list in the car, noticed her son’s feet behind her.
She allegedly told police she forgot the boy was back there, and that his death was the result of a tragic accident, according to those records.
Jovany died of hypothermia, and doctors said that his skin showed signs of blistering.
WBIR-TV’s extensive reporting – based on records from Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services — also revealed that, after the baby’s birth, Armstrong was diagnosed with postpartum depression. She was prescribed two medications, and said she stopped taking one of them shortly before the deadly incident.
Armstrong, in the DCS documents, is also alleged to have sent text messages to the child’s father in the months before his death. In them, officials alleged she threatened to kill him, the child and herself “because she couldn’t handle it anymore,” according to WBIR-TV.
The messages, according to the documents, “showed a threats (sic) of killing the minor child when he was around one month until his death. Mr. (redacted) reported that the text messages were between Ms. (redacted) and the child’s father, (redacted) Ms (redacted) messages were disturbing talking about killing the child because she couldn’t handle it anymore, she made threats to kill Mr. (redacted), the child and herself.”
PEOPLE could not reach Armstrong — who is out on bond — for comment.
Her attorneys are not commenting on the case.
Armstrong’s trial is set to begin in July 2021.
It was unclear Friday if she has entered pleas to the charges against her.