Clarksville mother charged in death of 7-month-old daughter
March 10, 2014 4:21 PM
Reported By Joseph Pleasant, Reporter - bio | email
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -
A 24-year-old mother is charged with criminal homicide for the death of her seven-month-old daughter.
Police were initially called to Stefany Johnson's home in the 1300 block of Sonja Drive around 3:40 a.m. Friday morning, following reports of a woman yelling and screaming naked in the street.
"It just looked terrible," said Calvin Melvin, a neighbor who lives across the street from the crime scene.
Neighbors told News 2 the residents of the home are a military family and the couple has three children.
The father is reportedly deployed in Afghanistan, according to neighbors.
Helen Hardy who lives next door to the home Johnson was renting described her as a nice woman.
In fact, Hardy said that just days before Johnson was accused of killing her daughter, Astrid, Johnson gave Hardy's daughter-in-law some baby clothes the infant had out grown
"She was really nice," Hardy said. "The kids were clean, she took care of the house, and she seemed like a nice ordinary person."
Hardy said Johnson kept to herself, but she would see her taking her children to the bus stop and playing with her son in the back yard.
The Department of Children Services is investigating Astrid's death along with Clarksville police.
DCS said Johnson did not have a previous history of contacts with the agency. DCS did take Johnson's four-year-old nephew into foster care Friday.
Neighbors did not know where her son was and DCS said he was not in the home when Astrid died.
Johnson's family has declined to comment on the incident, but their attorney released a brief statement.
"Due to this being an ongoing investigation, I am unable to take any more questions," Christopher Clark said. "I can say that the Italiano family is standing behind Ms. Johnson. They have asked that everyone respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of a loved one."
Italiano is Johnson's maiden name.
Johnson was due in court Monday, but the case was postponed because she is being evaluated by mental health professionals.
A memorial in the front yard of the Johnson home continued to grow Monday with children's toys, crosses and flowers.
"We all sit in here and cried we are trying to figure out what was going on and what happened," Hardy said.
Fort Campbell officials did not immediately have an update on whether Johnson's husband had been notified and if he was en route back to Tennessee.
According to court records, Johnson's next court date is March 14, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.