Joevani De La Pena "had a very positive and playful spirit," says his devastated family

By Elaine Aradillas
June 25, 2019 07:38 PM

The mother of a Texas boy has been charged with his death after claiming “demons” made her do it, according to an affidavit obtained by multiple outlets.

Shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Irving police responded to a 911 call for an unconscious person, tragically when they arrived, 8-year-old Joevani De La Pena was already dead, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

His mother Tisha Sanchez, 30, was charged with capital murder of a person under the age of 10-years-old, according to online court records.

At Sanchez’s home, a relative told officials Sanchez allegedly said demons told her she needed to sacrifice her son, the Dallas Morning News reports.

When the relative entered Sanchez’s RV, she discovered the boy on a bed and believed he had been suffocated with a pillow, the affidavit stated.

Dallas County Jail

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In addition to capital murder, Sanchez was charged with assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest. Her total bond was set at $753,500, according to online records.

She appeared in front of a Dallas County judge where she was officially charged, but did not enter a plea. It was unclear whether she obtained an attorney.

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Joevani’s devastated family created a fundraising page to help with the costs of a funeral and spoke of the wonderful little boy they lost.

“We can’t begin to wrap our heads around his death. We, like everyone [we] want answers, answers that we may never get,” the slain boy’s aunt Fransisca Dennett wrote on the Supportful page.

“Joevani, had a very positive and playful spirit. His caring nature touched countless lives and created many, many friendships. He had a contagious smile with an even bigger heart.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.