Pasadena woman gets 40 years after toddler reportedly beaten to death, newborn injured in 2019

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HOUSTON – A Pasadena woman was sentenced to 40 years on Monday after she entered a guilty plea on two charges to injury to a child, according to court records.

Emily Aust, 30, and her boyfriend Austin Reid, 25, were charged with two counts of injury to a child in 2020.

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The couple were accused of beating and burning both Aust’s 2-year-old toddler in 2019 and newborn son earlier in May 2019.

Aust was sentenced to 40 years for each charge. According to the docs, the sentences are concurrent -- so she will serve 40 years total.

What happened

In the first case, 2-year-old Lucas, Aust’s son by another man, was rushed to Texas Children’s Hospital after being left alone with Reid on May 19, 2019, according to court documents. He reportedly told police he’d left the little boy in a partially filled tub and came back to find him unconscious. The problem with that story, according to prosecutors, was that the child wasn’t wet when medics found him and his injuries were extensive.

“(He was) found to have brain bleeds and extensive bruising all over this body, including his head, arms legs, genitals and he also had large amounts of cigarette burns all over his body,” said Assist. Harris County Attorney, Gilbert Sawtelle.

The child died after three days of being on life support.

When Lucas died, Aust was pregnant with Reid’s son who was born in late December.

Five weeks after the baby was born, the newborn was severely injured, prosecutors said. Reid claimed the infant was injured when he stuck his arm through a laundry basket. But doctors discovered the baby’s elbow was broken and dislocated. The X-rays also showed that the newborn had a brain bleed and other head trauma, likely from being violently shaken. Authorities investigating the case took custody of the baby.

“That baby also had burns on its fingertips and high liver enzymes indicative of abdominal trauma,” Sawtelle said.

Authorities investigating the case took custody of the baby.

Reid and Aust were both investigated by the Houston Police Department before being arrested and charged with child abuse.

Scene photos from their apartment show a drug house unfit for any child, including drug paraphernalia like spoons with white powder, lighters and packs of synthetic marijuana, according to prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney Gilbert Sawtelle prosecuted both cases and said Reid admitted to being on meth, marijuana, and Xanax when both children sustained injuries.

In court, Aust admitted she also used drugs and that her drinking and drug abuse got worse after the first child died.

“All of this happened because she allowed it to happen by ignoring the constant signs of child abuse, including the death of her first child,” Sawtelle said. “If authorities hadn’t taken away the baby, he likely would have suffered the same fate because nothing changed and nothing was going to change.”

Reid pleaded guilty in both cases in July and was sentenced by a judge to 50 years in prison.

Aust pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced last week to two separate sentences of 40 years in prison, one for each child. Those sentences will run concurrently. She cannot appeal the conviction or the punishment, and she must serve at least half of the sentence before she will be eligible for parole.

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