DALLAS — The woman accused of slashing the throat of her only child is highly educated, her family said, but was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic after mission trips overseas.
Two weeks ago, Danielle Busby celebrated the first birthday of her daughter, Mariah.
On Monday night, the little girl was in a medically-induced coma at Children's Medical Center Dallas after police said Busby used a kitchen knife to slash the throat of her only child.
"I feel like I'm losing two children — a daughter and a granddaughter — but all is stable right now, so let's hope," said Annette Choice, the victim's grandmother and suspect's mother.
Child Protective Services will ask a judge on Tuesday for emergency custody, said Julie Moody, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services.
Dallas police got their latest call to Busby's house near White Rock Lake on Monday morning after officers said she called 911 to say she had cut her daughter.
Busby called her little sister hours after arriving in jail, asking for prayers before she saw the judge.
"I asked her what happened and she hung up," said Rhonda Choice, Danielle's sister. "She never asked about the baby. I'm not sure if she even knows if the baby's alive. I don't know that yet."
The woman that police led away in handcuffs is not the older sister Choice said she grew up with on Dallas' east side.
Danielle Busby, now 32, earned a degree in economics from Southern Methodist University, graduating summa cum laude in 2001.
She taught and tutored math at Dallas ISD, is fluent in Spanish, and performed missionary work in Africa and Central America, Annette Choice said. But after those overseas trips Danielle returned home with a tormented mind.
Months later, she was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and stayed in mental hospitals three times, Choice said.
In June 2011, a couple of months after Mariah was born, Danielle's family called police about bizarre behavior she exhibited, including walking around outside wearing only a shirt and underwear.
Officers took her away for a mental evaluation during that episode.
"Each time we were told there were no signs of immediate danger," said Annette Choice.
Last week, Danielle's younger sister, Rhonda, called police again because she said she was worried about Mariah's safety.
But Rhonda said officers told her she could not intervene and take her sister's child despite a clear mental illness.
"I would have rather been sitting in jail requesting an attorney for kidnapping than be sitting up in ICU with my niece with her throat slit," Rhonda said as her voice quivered.
Danielle's family still questions why Dallas police and Child Protective Services were not able to do more to prevent this tragedy from happening.
Despite a deep cut across her throat, and after 90 minutes in surgery on Monday, doctors told Mariah's relatives that the little girl should survive the attack.