Update: Father Arrested After Allegedly Killing Daughter, 5, for Not Doing Homework

A neighbor speaks out, calling her a 'little angel'
April 7, 2019 Updated: April 7, 2019

A New Mexico father was arrested late last week and was charged in the death of his 5-year-old girl after she told him she didn’t want to do her homework.

Brandon Reynolds, 36, of Albuquerque, was charged with child abuse that was intentionally caused that resulted in the death of a child under the age of 13, police told KOAT on April 5.

Reynolds told police that “he didn’t know what came over him” and “that’s when the discipline set in,” KOAT reported. Police said he beat his child, Sarah Dubois-Gilbeau, to death.

In the incident, he began spanking the child and “blacked out,” according to a complaint.

The father eventually called 911, saying Sarah went into cardiac arrest. When emergency crews came, they tried to revive her before she was taken to a nearby hospital. She was later pronounced dead, according to the report.

Police officers were alerted by emergency crews.

When officers arrived, they saw blood stains in the living room. A neighbor also spoke to police, saying she heard Reynolds screaming, “get up” before they heard something being hit.

“When rescue arrived they realized this was turning into a criminal situation and they called us and we took over the investigation,” an Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson told ABC News.

The crew members “recognized that this wasn’t consistent with what they were being told and it became a criminal investigation,” the spokesperson said.

“Detectives learned from hospital staff that the girl had suffered serious injuries,” Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier told the outlet. “Detectives from our crimes against children unit were called to the scene to investigate with the assistance of our homicide unit.”

Neighbors Speak Out

An unnamed neighbor who used to babysit the girl told KOAT that Sarah “didn’t deserve this.”

“She was so cute. She was a little angel,” said one neighbor of the girl.

“We would celebrate our birthdays together, with a little cake and a little candle,” a neighbor told the Albuquerque Journal. “She was a Cancer like me.”


“[A neighbor] heard him yelling at her, then she came outside to take a breath and then that’s when she saw the ambulance,” said a neighbor in describing what had happened, according to WWSB.

Another neighbor said Reynolds was “very strict” with the girl and started home-schooling her, and they could hear everything through the walls, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Court records indicated that he had a troubled relationship with the child’s mother, Chantel Smith.

Smith, 38, wrote that Reynolds “has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which causes him to not be able to handle or care for a child properly. He also has a history of abandoning the mother and that may follow through with the child,” the report said.

A court hearing said that Sarah should stay with Reynolds because of the mother’s drug use.

“Since her birth, the child has been in the custody of the father since the child tested positive for THC at birth and contrary to instructions from the birth hospital, mother was observed breast feeding the child when she was positive for THC. He has been her primary caregiver and remains the sole legal and physical custodian of the child,” the Journal reported.

Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, said investigators contacted the family about drug exposure after the girl was born.

“[The agency] investigated the potential of drug abuse by the parents,” Stelnicki told the Journal. “It was not substantiated and the case was closed at that point.”

Police haven’t released her official cause of death.

According to WWSB, Sarah moved between California to New Mexico for the past five years.

Reynolds, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to a have a criminal record in the state.

Other details about the case are not clear.