Mother tells police she tried to drown infant daughter, is charged with attempted murder

Kyle Hopkins

A 40-year-old Anchorage woman has been charged with attempted murder after she told police she tried to drown her infant daughter in a bathtub, according to the charges.

The mother, Crystal Renee Hawkins, called 911 at about 8:20 a.m. Sunday to report the attempted drowning at a home on Rosalind Street in South Anchorage, police said. Members of Hawkins family told police the woman struggles with mental problems and had recently been using drugs and abusing alcohol, according to the criminal complaint.

After holding the infant face down underwater, Hawkins told police she "wanted to kill herself as well," said department spokeswoman Anita Shell.

The 7-month-old baby was taken to a local hospital and placed under observation. She remained at the hospital Monday, Shell said. Detectives visited the child and found her active and drinking from a bottle, police said.

The arrest marked the second time in three days that police were alerted to a problem involving Hawkins and her baby, police said.

Hawkins on Friday was visiting a cousin at an apartment on the 500 block of North Bragaw Street when she locked the cousin out of the home and fled out a window, according to police. The baby was left alone in the apartment.

Hawkins lives at her mother's home at the Rosalind Street address with her husband and the infant, Shell said. Her mother took custody of the baby after the Bragraw Street incident, Shell said.

It's unclear when Hawkins again took custody of the infant. She told detectives that she had been thinking of killing her daughter since August, according to the charges. On Saturday, she formulated a plan to drown the girl, she said.

The next morning, Hawkins' mother left for church, the complaint says. Hawkins grabbed a few towels and ran a bath upstairs, police said.

Her husband, Christoper Hawkins, was downstairs playing video games, Shell said.

According to the charges, Crystal Hawkins held the baby face-down in the water for about one minute. The infant started to flail in the bath water, the charges said. Hawkins pulled the girl from the water and saw she was still alive, she told police.

Hawkins placed the infant underwater a second time, the charges said.

"Again the baby continued to kick and flailed as she was held underwater," the complaint said. "At this point Hawkins panicked, pulled the baby out of the water, wrapped her in a towel, and called APD dispatch."

When police asked Hawkins why she wanted to kill her baby, she said she wanted family members to "'hurt' as much as she does," according to the complaint.

Interviewed at police headquarters, Christopher Hawkins told detectives he didn't know Crystal was trying to kill the couple's child until she came downstairs and told him she had just tried to drown the baby, the charges said.

Christopher Hawkins told police the baby seemed lethargic but was conscious after the attack. The father held her with her head facing down in hopes of allowing water to leave her lungs, according to the charges.

He kept the baby until medics arrived, the charges said.

The father told police that Crystal Hawkins had been using controlled substances and alcohol lately. She has previously been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and indicated to authorities that she takes an anti-psychotic medication as a result, according to the charges.

Police asked Christopher Hawkins why he thought Crystal "had done this," the charges say. She wanted attention, he said.

Crystal Hawkins made her first court appearance Monday afternoon at the Anchorage Jail. She wore her hair in a bob, thick-framed librarian-style glasses and a prison jumpsuit.

Asked about her ability to afford a lawyer, Hawkins said she makes about 1,000 a month and wanted to speak to an attorney. A magistrate set her bail at $250,000.

Her prior criminal history includes convictions for assault and disorderly conduct in 2011, as well as 2006 convictions for criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and fourth-degree assault, according to the charges.

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