ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Alysha Anderton, the mother of little Jaylin Schwarz - who died back in August jumping on a trampoline with no water breaks, according to investigators - said hadn’t seen her daughters for almost four years, KOSA reported.
Odessa police arrested Anderton’s stepsister, Ashley Schwarz, and her husband Daniel, for the homicide last week.
They both had custody of Jaylin and her younger sister Jayde for almost the last four years, and now they’re both charged with capital murder.
Anderton said she loved her girls tremendously but lost custody when she couldn’t overcome an addiction issue within a timeframe set by Child Protective Services.
CPS moved the girls from their home in Forney, Texas, outside Dallas, to Odessa to live with the Schwarz family which, at first, Anderton approved.
Legally, Alysha had visitation rights but says the couple kept her from ever seeing the girls again.
“What upsets me the most is that I never got to see her alive again,” Anderson said. “When they took them, I never got to say goodbye. So I’ve never had closure for the past four years.”
In August, Anderton got a call from her family, letting her know Jaylin had died.
Investigators say the Schwarz’s were punishing them by making both jump on a trampoline in the back yard. If either stopped, they say, Ashley and Daniel Schwarz took away their water breaks.
Eventually, police say, Jaylin passed out and died. The autopsy ruled homicide by dehydration.
“I was surprised that it wasn’t more than dehydration,” Anderton said. “Because the little girl that I saw in the casket did not look like an 8-year-old girl. She was so, so tiny. She was so tiny. She was so tiny.”
Investigators later reported that it felt like 110 degrees outside while Jaylin was jumping. The ground, they said, measured 150 degrees.
“In the warrant affidavit, they had stated that when first responders arrived on the scene, that rigor mortis had clearly set into her body,” Anderton said, “meaning she laid there on that for at least an hour and a half to two hours before anyone even found her. How? How does that even happen? How? I don’t understand. I want answers.”
A few days later, Jaylin was taken home to Forney. It was the first time Anderton had seen her little girl since 2017.
“And then, oh, I still remember it like it was yesterday. The first time I saw her in almost four years she was lying in a casket and that’s not fair,” Anderton said. “That’s not fair to me. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t totally break down.”
Anderton said she was fighting to get her visitation rights back, but the process got bogged down because COVID-19 closed the courts.
She says she feels like if she could have just seen Jaylin and Jayde, she would have figured out something was wrong and been able to work on getting them out.
“The most important thing I needed to tell them was that I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry that I didn’t bring you back home like I promised you that I would. And that was so important to me,” Anderton said. “That was the most important thing that I could say to her was that I’m sorry for everything that I have put you through. It’s not fair to her or to her sister – but I hope she knows my heart now and she knows that I was trying very, very hard to get to them and I could have saved her.”
Anderton takes comfort that her Jaylin is buried nearby. She said whether it’s 10 minutes or two hours, she visits her every day.
“If that’s all I get now, I’ll take it. I’ll take it and I will treasure it for the rest of my life,” Anderton said. “If that’s all I’m given when it comes to her, if that’s all I’m given I will take it any day. ... And I will make it beautiful just as she was in life.”
CPS has placed Jayde with Ashley and Daniel’s babysitter.
Anderton says she doesn’t want the death penalty for the Schwarz’s, and doesn’t feel Jaylin would, either.
And she feels like this experience, in some way, will hopefully help moms or children in similar circumstances.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe account for legal help with bringing Jayde back into their family.