Stepfather of mother who stabbed, killed daughter says woman was ‘stressed’

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Jellisa Baxter’s stepfather, Harold Hemmings, says he was surprised when he heard the news that the 24-year-old mother was taken into custody for stabbing her 3-year-old daughter to death.

It happened early Tuesday morning at their apartment at 1051 NE 163rd St., near Northeast 10th Avenue.

“I was very, very, very surprised,” said Hemmings. “I met her one time and that was in August when she came to Orlando to visit her mom.”

Hemmings said he was married to Baxter’s mother since 2018. In August, her mother was in the hospital with terminal cancer. Hemmings says Baxter brought her daughter with her for the visit.

“I met the child that day,” he said. “She was just (a) healthy, running around child.”

Hemmings never believed that four months after the meeting, Baxter would do the unthinkable. She dialed 911 and told the dispatcher she had strangled, then stabbed her child multiple times with a knife inside their North Miami Beach apartment.

(Listen to the 911 call)

Records show Baxter was sent an eviction notice just days before.

“She seemed like she was a loving mama. But I think at the time she needed help. She was like stressed,” Hemmings recalled.

The 24-year-old mother appeared before a judge Wednesday morning and was ordered held without bond.

Hemmings says he feels compelled to stay on top of her case out of loyalty to her mother.

“You know that’s her child. So, if I can do something, I guess I just wanna do it.”

Baxter appeared in Miami-Dade County court on Wednesday, where a judge ordered that she remain held without bond.

Baxter is also in custody on an immigration hold, because she is a Jamaican national.

Hemmings said loved ones tell him the case is making headlines on the island.

About the Author:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.