Louisiana couple arrested in Baytown, charged with attempted murder of teen

A Louisiana couple was arrested in connection with an attempted murder investigation of a 15-year-old girl, which came to light during a traffic-related incident investigated by the Baytown Police Department in Texas.

Sheriff Tim Soignet of Terrebonne Parish has confirmed Latonya Ann Harris, 40, and Terrence Washington, 41, were taken into custody for a series of violent charges related to the case.

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office reports on April 21, they received information about a 15-year-old victim found badly burned and shot multiple times following a traffic crash in Baytown, Texas, on April 20 around 11 p.m. The initial report came from the local Department of Child Family Services, which alerted SVU Detectives, leading to collaboration with the Baytown Police Department.

CRIME: Houston man accused of kidnapping New Mexico baby whose mother, another woman were shot, killed

Baytown authorities revealed the victim suffered severe injuries from her mother, Harris, and her mother’s boyfriend, Washington. The Baytown Police Department confirmed both Harris and Washington, along with a minor child, were taken into custody in connection with the incident and the discovery of the 15-year-old victim.

According to investigators, they received complaints about a vehicle driving recklessly on I-10 East, which then crashed on a service road. Officers say they found Washington in the driver's seat holding a firearm and he was taken into custody.

The victim was immediately hospitalized due to her severe injuries, along with Harris, who was injured in the crash. Medical examination revealed extensive and gruesome burns to the 15-year-old's upper body, as well as gunshot wounds to her chest and face, described by an investigator as among the worst they'd seen.

Courtesy of Terrebonne Parish Sheriff' Office

During an interview with Washington, Baytown PD reported he confessed to shooting the victim during a disturbance at their Thibodaux, Louisiana residence and admitted sexually abusing the young girl over several months. He also stated Harris burned the victim in February 2024 and was treating her at home. After she was shot, they left for Texas.

In a horrifically detailed interview with the minor child, they told authorities during Mardi Gras season they woke up and saw the 15-year-old on fire and Harris standing over their bed with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a lighter. Investigators also learned the victim was shot two separate times within their home and was left untreated while they drove to Texas.

After searching the family residence, officials found evidence confirming a weapon had been fired inside the home, along with blood evidence and the smell of infection and decomposition.

According to Washington, Harris burned the 15-year-old after learning about the sexual abuse and blaming the victim.

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, and Vizio!

Harris, released from a Texas hospital on May 9, was arrested upon her return to Terrebonne Parish and charged with Attempted First Degree Murder, Second-Degree cruelty to a juvenile, and Domestic Abuse Battery Child Endangerment. Harris was taken to the Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex and has a $1,000,000 bond.

Washington faces numerous charges including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, obstruction of justice, molestation of a juvenile, three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and five counts of second-degree rape. Washington will be taken into custody of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, but he remains at the Harris County Detention Center on charges connected to crimes in Texas.

"The severe abuse and torture of a 15-year-old girl by members of her own family is a horrific act that has shaken us all," Baytown PD Chief John Stringer stated. "Our officers’ and detectives' swift and decisive action in this case highlights their resolve to keep Baytown safe for everyone. The level of care, compassion, and professionalism demonstrated at all levels has been extraordinary."

The investigation remains ongoing, with additional arrests possible.