What is known about the brief life of 6-year-old Whitney Williams is dwarfed by the mysteries that surround her untimely death.
The little girl apparently did not attend school. A Clear Creek Independent School District official said Whitney had never been enrolled in the district, although she and her family lived within it, in the South Shore Lakes apartments, 3850 E. FM 518.
The little girl, who initially was identified by the wrong surname, Nolan, that of her father, would have celebrated her seventh birthday a week from tomorrow.
Instead, she was beaten so severely Aug. 17 that she died the next day.
Her father, 26-year-old Evan David Nolan, is being held in connection with the death, although he has not been charged with Whitney’s homicide.
In a booking photograph, taken when League City police took him into custody — initially on a charge of driving without a license and, hours later, on a felony count of causing injury to a child — a tattoo is visible across his throat; it reads: Death B4 Dishonor.
Yet, Nolan apparently had no prior police record, according to an online search and interviews with law enforcement officials locally and in Louisiana, where he previously lived.
An autopsy this week determined Whitney had suffered brain trauma and internal bleeding, Galveston County Assistant District Attorney Adam Poole said.
Nolan was being held Wednesday in the Galveston County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Poole said his office is awaiting a report on the results of an autopsy, which was conducted by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s officer because the child died at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, to determine whether to charge Nolan with murder or with capital murder, the latter of which would make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
The case will be presented to a grand jury, Poole said.
Nolan is believed to have brought his daughter Whitney, her mother, Brithony Williams, and Whitney’s younger sister, whose name has not been released, to League City sometime this year from Louisiana, police said.
The three lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the South Shore Lakes complex.
No one answered a reporter’s knock at the door Wednesday morning. The patio in front of it was empty save for two small plastic beach shovels and a matching pail.
The family’s next-door neighbor, Melissa Guzman, 30, said she had never seen, let alone met, Whitney.
“They were quiet,” she said. “They just kept to themselves. When I heard about what had happened, I was shocked. I was speechless.”
League City detectives suspect the beating that resulted in the girl’s death took place inside the family’s apartment sometime during the day Aug. 17, according to a probable-cause affidavit released Wednesday by the Galveston County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
Brithony Williams remains a person of interest in the case, League City police spokesman Reagan Peña said.
“Detectives are still working the case,” Peña said.
According to the affidavit, Williams lied to police about who was watching Whitney in the hours during which she was beaten, denying it was the child’s father.
Nolan was arrested a week ago today when League City police, working with the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitive Task Force, spotted him driving a car registered in his name and bearing Louisiana license plates.