A day after 3-year-old Elena Joiner was taken to the hospital for severe injuries, she was declared brain dead on Monday and died Wednesday, according to a GoFundMe account.
Court and jail records show the child’s father, 22-year-old Billy Ray Joiner Jr., was arrested on Monday in connection with her death. He faces charges of injury to a child and evading arrest. He’s also being held on charges of aggravated assault in retaliation from a December 2020 incident. He remained in custody Wednesday at a Tarrant County jail.
The GoFundMe page was created Tuesday for Elena’s family to help with medical and funeral expenses. In the fundraiser description, her aunt, Miranda Malone, states Elena was “brutally injured” by her father.
In a message to the Star-Telegram, Malone said the fundraiser would be closed because enough money has been raised for the funeral.
“She was just the sweetest 3-year-old in the whole world,” Malone said in the message. “Our hearts are shattered. Nothing will bring our baby girl back, but we want justice for our sweet angel.”
Fort Worth police records show officers responded to an injury to a child call at Elena’s home in the 2600 block of Merrick Street on Sunday, but details of the report have not been made available online.
Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office records show an autopsy is pending to determine the child’s cause of death.
Malone wrote that Elena suffered from a heart attack due to her injuries and went into cardiac arrest. She also suffered a severe brain injury and was given a 6% chance to survive before she was declared brain dead, according to the GoFundMe page.
“I can’t seem to even find the words to put on here as we are shaken by the whole situation,” Malone wrote in the fundraiser description. “The last thing I want is any of my family to stress about not having enough when this sweet baby girl deserved the whole world and it’s been taken from her.”
The GoFundMe page was titled “Help Elena’s family pay 4 funeral, medical expenses” and had received $740 in donations as of Wednesday afternoon.