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'She didn't deserve this': Father arrested in death of 3-year-old daughter in Fort Worth

Billy Ray Joiner Jr., 22, faces charges of injury to a child, aggravated assault in retaliation and evading arrest, Tarrant County jail records said.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth man has been arrested in the beating death of his 3-year-old daughter, according to police records and officials.

Billy Ray Joiner Jr., 22, faces charges of injury to a child and evading arrest, Tarrant County jail records said.

Joiner also faces two counts of aggravated assault with retaliation, stemming from an incident in December 2020, according to court records.

Joiner was arrested Monday.

His daughter, Elena Rae Joiner, died Wednesday, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. Her cause of death has not been listed.

Police on Sunday responded to Joiner's home in the 2600 block of Merrick Street, near Camp Bowie Boulevard in west Fort Worth, on a report of an injury to a child, according to records.

Police said Joiner was beaten by her father and suffered a brain injury. 

She died in the pediatric intensive care unit at Cook Children's Medical Center, according to the medical examiner.

The Star-Telegram reported that Elena Joiner was taken to a hospital for severe injuries on Sunday and was declared brain dead the next day.

A GoFundMe page was created to help her family pay for funeral expenses, and the fundraiser description said Joiner was "brutally injured" by her father, the Star-Telegram reported.

The family closed the GoFundMe after receiving enough donations to cover the young girl's funeral costs.

Joiner's family spoke with WFAA on Thursday, as they dealt with the heartbreak of her death.

"She was a normal 3-year-old," said her aunt, Miranda Malone. "She just wanted to play, to be loved. She didn't deserve this. We want justice for her."

Billy Ray Joiner was previously arrested in May 2020 on charges of assault of a family member and evading arrest, but he received deferred adjudication in those cases, according to Tarrant County court records.

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