No indictment in Holiday toddler's murder

Posted at 10:02 AM, May 26, 2016

A Texas grand jury has returned a no bill in the case of a Pasco County toddler who died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Madison Cannon, who was just 15-months-old, was found unresponsive in April 2014.  At the time, the child's mother accused her boyfriend, a registered sex offender, of committing the crime.  The mother's boyfriend was not the child's father.

Dallas Co. Institute of Forensic Sciences is ruling Madison Cannon's death as homicide.

An autopsy report revealed Madison's injuries included: contusions of the trunk and extremities, pleural petechiae (hemorrhages of the skin or mucosae) and post organ/tissue removal for transplantation purposes.

The Medical Examiner also noticed the toddler had a history of being placed on a twin size mattress to play and was found unresponsive a few minutes later.

Police began putting together a capital murder case.

On Wednesday, the case was presented to a grand jury in Quitman, the Winnsboro Police Department said in a Facebook statement.

"The Texas Attorney General, acting as the prosecutor presented the case and the Grand Jury returned a No Bill. All questions about the case and the decision should be routed through the Texas Attorney General's office. A very sad and disappointing day for us," the statement read.

On Thursday morning, the post was removed and replaced.

A new post states, "We are not faulting the AG office or anyone else on this case. We are not closing the case at all. There will be three sets of eyes looking at everything on this case starting tomorrow. If it can be re-submitted by our Wood County DA, we will have it ready for him as soon as we make sure everything is back. The many factors that the public does not know about this case is rather shocking. I took down the original post because I fear that some of the responses may taint what we are trying to do. We are not done with the case. the baby deserves everything we can give her. Hate us if you will, but we are working on it.'

ABC Action News spoke to Madison's biological father, who moved to Texas to see the case through and take custody of another daughter, said he is enraged by this outcome.


A Pasco County family is mourning the loss of 15-month-old Madison Cannon. 

Authorities in Texas say Cannon was so severely abused she was declared brain dead and taken off life support Monday at a Dallas hospital.

"From what we've been told by doctors she was just beaten to death," said Frank Cannon Sr., the little girl's paternal grandfather whom she briefly lived with in Holiday.

According to ABC Action News affiliate KLTV in Tyler, Texas, Winnsboro Police Department are now investigating Cannon's case as a potential capital murder case.

The investigation began following a 911 call last Thursday, stating there was an unresponsive infant inside of a home, family members stated.

"Her mother came home from work and found her unconscious and she is the one who called 911," Cannon said.

Police were called Thursday to a residence on McKinney Street in Winnsboro to a report of a non-responsive child, KLTV reported. When officers arrived, they found Cannon with injuries.

Madison was transported to a local hospital and then care-flighted to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, where she was later declared brain dead on Saturday.

"It was apparent that there was ... some evidence of abuse,"  WPD Captain Chris Hill told KLTV.

Hill said Child Protective Services was notified of the incident and is also investigating the case. 

According to police, Madison lived in a home her mother shared with her new boyfriend and his family members.

Cannon identified the mother's boyfriend as Damien Hale.  Hale is a registered sex offender in Texas.  He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a child.

Hill said the department has identified possible suspects and officers are interviewing people.

Winnsboro police told KLTV they are consulting with the District Attorney in Quitman in the case, as well as the Texas Ranger assigned to that area. However, the Texas Rangers are not leading the investigation at this time.


Cannon's biological father Jesse and Cannon's paternal grandparents reside in Holiday.

When Jesse learned of his daughter's injuries he flew to Texas to be by her side.  Madison's paternal grandmother also went along.

"My wife grew very close [to Madison].  I'm sure my wife felt like she was her mother as well," Cannon said.

Jesse made the heartbreaking decision to remove his daughter from life support after doctors declared her brain dead.  She was kept on a ventilator so her organs could be harvested Monday.

She underwent and autopsy today.

Her body is expected to be released to family on Wednesday.

ABC Action News reached out to Candelora for comment.  We have not yet heard back.