Missing toddler's aunt free on bond, trying to regain custody of her children

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The Lake Highlands woman arrested in connection to the death of her 18-month-old nephew is out on bond and trying to regain custody of her children.

Chrystal Jackson’s children are in Child Protective Services care. She was in court Tuesday for a custody hearing.

The custody hearing lasted just a few minutes. A soft-spoken Chrystal was surrounded by her mother, best friend and a man who tried to prevent FOX 4 from talking to her after the hearing.

Chrystal was arrested last week for child endangerment after her nephew, Cedric CJ Jackson, was found dead in a Rowlett landfill. The little boy had been placed in Chrystal’s care temporarily by CPS.

Dallas police arrested Chrystal’s boyfriend, Sedrick Johnson, for causing serious bodily injury to a child.

According to arrest records, Johnson told detectives the child became suddenly ill and then was unresponsive, so he put him in a trash bin.

Johnson has a lengthy criminal history and was not allowed to care for the boy. The couple’s six children were removed from Jackson’s apartment.

Adding to the heartbreak of the story, CJ had already been placed with his aunt through a CPS custodial agreement. Until now, it was not clear if CPS was aware that Johnson had a history of child abuse and neglect and also lived there.

FOX 4 News obtained records showing at the time of CJ’s placement that “CPS was told [Chrystal] was the only resident of the apartment."

A CPS affidavit also raises concern about the ongoing welfare of the other children.

“Chrystal, Sedrick Sr. and the 6 children were in the apartment at the time of [CJ's] disappearance,” the affidavit stated.

Because of that, attorneys representing the children say “the parents’ behavior prior to, and following, the removal of these children poses a danger to safety and well-being of the children.” They added that "grief counseling and therapy is essential" to secure stability for the children.

The report states the four girls remain in foster care. The two boys are in an emergency shelter.

Chrystal avoided questions after the hearing.

Tuesday morning’s custody hearing was reset by the judge.

“The court hearing was reset because each of the parents was granted a court-appointed attorney. And in order to give them time to meet with their attorneys, the hearing was set for another date,” said Marissa Gonzales, the spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Because of the custody hearing’s reset, CPS and CASA representatives in attendance did not present their findings to the judge.

The custody hearing has been reset for next month.

The medical examiner has not yet released CJ’s cause of death.