Family by mom's side after infant's beating death

DENVER - The mother accused of killing her 2-month-old daughter smiled and said hello to her family during her Thursday court appearance.

A judge advised 21-year-old Kelsy Newell-Skinner of the charges against her: first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.

Newell-Skinner's mother shook her head in court Thursday morning, as the judge read the murder charge. She also exclaimed, "love you Kelsy," as Newell-Skinner was leaving the court escorted by deputies.

"You're going to be OK," she also told her.

Newell-Skinner's family declined to speak to 9NEWS Thursday after the court proceeding.

Her daughter Natalee Skinner-Hurst was rushed to a Denver-area hospital with head trauma and at least one bite mark.

Court records say the 21-year-old mother didn't call 911. Instead, she called her ex-boyfriend, the father of her three other children and her mother to tell them the baby's been hurt. The 21-year-old had five children total with two different fathers. Three are with one man, including a 15-month-old daughter. She had Natalee with another father.

According to an affidavit, the young mother of five children texted her ex-boyfriend saying "she must have been very drunk last night because she just woke up and the baby has been beaten."

The ex-boyfriend received another text saying "she did not remember last night, and she felt horrible."

PREVIOUS STORY: Grandparents of abused baby said she was a fighter

Family members say Natalee Skinner-Hurst was a fighter, even at 2 months old.

"Despite the devastating injuries, she hung in there probably a little bit longer than most other kids could have," paternal grandfather Albi Hurst said. "She wasn't going to give up."

The infant arrived at Children's Hospital brain dead with "severe bruising on her head, a swollen left eye, fractured ribs and suspected bite marks on her left thigh area."

PREVIOUS STORY: Mom arrested after baby's death

The affidavit says Newell-Skinner was seen running from her apartment that she shares with her four other children, after a call to her mother Sunday. The mother went to the apartment after she heard her daughter acting "hysterical in the background" on the phone call.

Natalee's grandparents spoke to 9NEWS Crime and Justice Reporter Anastasiya Bolton. Albi Hurst and Susan Heath Hurst shared memories of Natalee and read a statement, that said:

Natalee Marie Skinner-Hurst was a precious angel who graced us with her presence for only a short while. For many hours we prayed by her bed side for a miracle. We want to thank the wonderful staff at Children's Hospital for doing all they could to make sure Natalee's final journey was a peaceful one and filled with compassion and love...and our sweet tiny little girl was surrounded by many who love her in her final moments of life. We want to thank the man who prayed and offered their assistance during this difficult time.

A donation site has been set up for Natalee's funeral expenses:


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