The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

SMU grad in custody, caught in controversy

SMU grad in custody, caught in controversy
Photo courtesy of WFAA.

(Photo courtesy of WFAA.)

Mariah Busby turned one just two weeks ago but she is already the victim of a terrible crime.

On Monday morning, Mariah’s mother slit the little girl’s throat with a kitchen knife at their house near White Rock Lake. Mariah was put into a medically induced coma at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and her mother, Danielle Busby, was taken into police custody.

Danielle’s mother and younger sister talked to The Daily Campus on Monday. They said Danielle is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and has been committed to hospitals two separate times.

“I asked [Danielle] what happened and she hung up. She never even asked about the baby. I don’t even know if she knows the baby is alive,” Danielle’s sister, Rhonda Choice, said.

But this is not the big sister Rhonda grew up with.

Danielle, 32, earned a degree in economics from SMU in 2001, graduating summa cum laude. She spoke fluent Spanish, taught and tutored math at Dallas ISD, and went on several mission trips to Africa and Central America.

It was after returning home from these trips that Danielle’s family noticed something was wrong.

In June 2011, Danielle’s family called police after she exhibited strange behavior, including walking around her neighborhood wearing only a shirt and underwear.

Even after police evaluated her, “we were told there were no signs of immediate danger,” said Danielle’s mother, Annette Choice.

Just last week Rhonda called Dallas police because she felt her niece was in danger. But again, police decided not to intervene.

“I would have rather been sitting in jail requesting an attorney for kidnapping than sitting up in the ICU with my niece and her throat is slit,” Rhonda said.

Danielle’s family still questions why Dallas police and Child Protective Services did not do more to prevent this tragedy from happening.

“I feel like I’m losing two children…my daughter and granddaughter,” Annette said.

On Tuesday, Mariah was revived from the coma and doctors are optimistic about her recovery. Child Protective Services is seeking temporary custody of the little girl.


Danielle Busby’s photo from the SMU yearbook. (SMU)

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