Neighbor reported injuries to 3-year-old weeks before child died

Jose Cruz

The neighbor of a 3-year-old is demanding answers after showing Eyewitness News photos of the girl revealing bruises to her face just weeks before she died.

Chasity Parksey says she couldn't ignore bruises on three-year-old Carmen Ellis, so she took pictures of them in July.

Parksey said the man accused of killing Carmen, Jose Cruz, explained away the bruises via the supernatural.

"He said that a ghost had got her and a ghost had been attacking her," said Parksey.

Parksey first noticed Carmen's injuries when she went to visit her sister, Katrina Parksey, who was roommates with Cruz and the child's mother, Samantha Ellis.

Parksey said she called police, triggering questions from Child Protective Services.

But that's where Parksey said it ended. 

A month later, Carmen Ellis was dead. Police were called to the apartment the child shared with her mother and Cruz and baby brother.

According to a police report, emergency crews found Carmen unconscious at her east side apartment with bruises all over her body. In the report, investigators said Carmen's mother had been out running errands Wednesday night. When she returned home, she found her daughter unresponsive and Cruz hysterical.

In the report, detectives said the little girl was only wearing a t-shirt and nothing else.

Even before Carmen's death, Katrina Parksey said she noticed Carmen had fresh injuries all the time.

"I'll wake up and she'll have bruises on her, but I never seen no one hit that baby, and they kept telling me it was a ghost doing it," said Katrina Parksey.

That's the story Katrina Parksey said she got every time she asked Cruz and Ellis how Carmen got hurt. It's not the story Katrina got from 3-year-old Carmen, though.

"I asked the baby who did it and she said her papa did it. Jose," said Katrina.

"There were bite marks on her, bruises.  She had bald spots on her head," added Katrina Parksey.

Eyewitness News talked with Samantha Ellis on the phone Thursday.

She told us she wasn't standing behind Cruz and thought there was a possibility she too could face charges in her daughter's death. Ellis admitted she believed in the paranormal and life after death and thought it was possible her daughter's injuries came from a demon tormenting the little girl.

"A ghost? Really? I don't know," said Chasity Parksey, disgusted.

Chasity Parksey thought Carmen's death had more to do with poor judgement and people doing nothing when they should have done something, anything to help a little girl who couldn't help herself.

"A baby died because no actions was taken period. Regardless of if it's the parents, CPS, whoever. Something should have been done and nothing was," said Chasity Parksey.

Child Protective Services said they've launched an investigation into Carmen's death.
Jose Cruz will be in court tomorrow.


A man accused of beating to death a three-year-old girl will be back in court Friday morning.

Jose Cruz appeared in court Thursday morning and a judge agreed to keep him in jail. The 20-year-old is accused of beating his girlfriend's daughter.

Carmen Ellis was taken off life support Wednesday night.

Police were called to the home on Long Wharf Drive and found the little girl unresponsive and "covered head to toe in bruises."

According to our partners at The Indianapolis Star, Carmen Ellis is the 28th child to die in the last five years in which DCS was involved with the case or had been contacted about abuse.