Billy Bob Thornton's Ex-Wife Defends Daughter In Infant Neglect Case

Billy Bob Thornton's estranged daughter, charged with neglect in the death of her infant goddaughter, was a longtime friend of the baby's mother and is "very distressed" about the situation, the woman's mother said Tuesday.

Thornton's first wife, Melissa Parish, told The Associated Press that her daughter Amanda Brumfield is "very distressed and very sad about what happened" to 1-year-old Olivia Garcia. She said Brumfield, 29, lost touch with the star of films such as "Monster's Ball" when he moved to California more than 20 years ago.

Brumfield and the infant's mother, Heather Murphy, have been friends for years.

"Amanda was always offering to look after her kids. She was even at the hospital when Olivia was born," Parish said. "Amanda has bought formula and clothes for the kids."

Parish said Murphy and her daughter were still close after the child's death in October and grieved together but said the relationship quickly fizzled since the arrest.

Brumfield told investigators the girl acted normally and ate bananas after she fell from a playpen and hit her head, according to police documents.

But detectives believe Brumfield's story was inconsistent with the girl's injuries, and she was charged Friday with child neglect causing harm or disability. An autopsy determined the girl had a fractured skull and brain injury, and the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Brumfield says she didn't notice anything wrong with the baby until she tried to move Olivia two hours later, after the girl had fallen asleep.

"When I spoke with Amanda that night, I could hear Olivia in the background and she was laughing and giggling," Parish said. "She was fine. She even texted Heather that night about Olivia climbing out of the playpen."

As for Brumfield's relationship with her father, Parish said there was no animosity between the two.

"She does not receive any money or support from him," said Parish, who divorced Thornton in 1980.

"They've talked, but it's very hard to hold a relationship from one coast to the other. It's just how things are."

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