Woman charged in death of Montgomery toddler - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Woman charged in death of Montgomery toddler

(Source: Montgomery County Jail) (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
Ashton Easterling (Source: Family) Ashton Easterling (Source: Family)

Montgomery Police have made an arrest in the death of a toddler who died in April.

Natasha Cottrell, 33, is charged with capital murder. Investigators say she's responsible for the death of 23-month-old Ashton Easterling.

U.S. Marshals arrested Cottrell Wednesday in Florence. She was booked in the Montgomery County Jail Thursday and is being held without bond.

On the night of April 16, Montgomery police responded to the 1800 block of Crouson Street after receiving a report of an unresponsive child.

Ashton was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy determined his death was a homicide due to physical assault and trauma.

Ashton's father, A.J. Easterling, says burying his son was the hardest thing he has done, but the family has found comfort knowing police have made an arrest.

A.J. Easterling said it still hurts, but he knows he has to be strong for Ashton's twin brother, Ameir.

"We wanted answers and find out some solutions to what has happened," said Ashton's mother, Michelle Easterling.

She says she not angry with Natasha Cottrell, but praying for her.

"I don't know what could have made her so angry or what happened, but I still pray for her because she is a mother as well. That's what makes it so hard," Michelle Easterling said.

Relatives say Ashton and Ameir were left in Cottrell's care.

Ameir was also hurt that day. While he doesn't have any physical scars, the family says mentally he hasn't recovered.

"When he gets in trouble, he gets real scared," A.J. Easterling said.

The family showers Ameir with love. While there's a void that will never be filled, they are thankful for what they still have.

"I don't know, through it all, just God, just thankful to him for at least sparing one of them," Michelle said.

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