Texas mother accused of killing 6-year-old son for insurance money

WTBV – Houston:

A Houston woman is behind bars after investigators say she used drugs to kill her 6-year-old son last year in order to collect insurance money.

Mario Sanchez wishes he could hug his 6-year-old son, Jason Sanchez-Marks, once again, but the boy died in June 2020, weeks shy of his 7th birthday.

“I just want to wake up and say, ‘Oh man, this is a bad dream,’” Sanchez said.

Prosecutors allege Jason’s mother, 25-year-old Ashley Marks, killed him by intentionally drugging him in order to collect insurance money.

Gilbert Sawtelle, chief child fatality prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, says Jason had been living with his grandfather in Tanglewood, Texas. It’s alleged Marks would show up at the home nightly to drug her son.

“We believe it’s her scheme to have her son die in her father’s care,” he said.

An autopsy found toxic amounts of multiple over-the-counter medications in Jason’s system as well as exposure to methamphetamine and cocaine.

Sawtelle says Marks took out two life insurance policies on her son approximately a month before his death.

Investigators say Marks initially lied about taking out the policies, telling them she knew nothing about insurance and thought it was a savings plan. However, they later learned she is a licensed insurance agent in Texas, specializing in life insurance.

“That was a big clue that this was not an accidental death,” Sawtelle said.

Sanchez says Marks tried to get him to sign paperwork on an insurance policy, but he refused. The two divorced a couple of years ago.

Marks is charged with capital murder in connection to Jason’s death. She was denied bail during a hearing Thursday.

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