By Joshua Winata

Killeen Daily Herald

A mother in custody on charges of filed in the death of her 35-month-old son in Copperas Cove on Saturday was discovered to have an outstanding warrant in California related to charges of dealing narcotics. The victim's father also was being held on child injury charges.

Tawshawna Vanhardenberg, 22, and Antoine Shields, 28, are in custody at the Coryell County Jail on charges of causing serious bodily injury to their 35-month-old son, Keyken Vanhardenberg-Shields.

Vanhardenberg was sentenced to serve 180 days in the San Joaquin County County Jail after pleading guilty to a felony charge of selling and transporting narcotics. However, she failed to appear to serve her jail time on Jan. 16, according to Sharon Morris, assistant court executive officer of San Joaquin County Superior Court.

The court issued a warrant charging

Vanhardenberg with violating her parole.

The couple surfaced in Copperas Cove and checked into the Cactus Motel, near the intersection of Highway 190 and Avenue D, on March 9, according to a motel representative.

Vanhardenberg and Shields were arrested on March 25 at a nearby McDonald's in Copperas Cove, where they had called police to report an unconscious child, who was later identified as the couple's son.

The unconscious boy was airlifted to Scott & White Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of Keyken's injuries are still undetermined, and an autopsy ordered by Justice of the Peace David Barfield will be performed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas.

The couple has three other children, a 1-year-old son and two daughters, ages 5 months and 2 years old, who have been placed in foster homes by Texas Child Protective Services. The agency has contacted California Child Protective Services to determine the rightful custody of the children.

Vanhardenberg previously served 240 days in the San Joaquin County Jail for drug dealing charges in May 2005 and also was arrested in November 2006 on auto grand theft charges, which were rejected, Morris said.

San Joaquin County has the option of extraditing Vanhardenberg, but is unlikely to do so because the charges brought against her in Texas are more serious, Morris said.

Contact Joshua Winata at or call at (254) 547-6481

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