Family of Quitman children found dead had history with CPS
POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014 - 6:21pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 10:11am
Quitman, Texas (KETK) — A Quitman man was arrested by local law enforcement for tampering with a Wood County case.
According to Police Chief Kelly Cole, Thomas Wayne Liles, 19, was taken into custody by one of his officers on Thursday for tampering with evidence.
At 1:51 a.m. Thursday, Quitman PD responded to reports of two young children who were not breathing and would not wake up. When authorities arrived, they found two girls, approximately ages two and three, dead.
Multiple witnesses told officers that a man was seen running from the Dogwood Villa apartment where the two deaths occured. They also saw the man throw a "large item" into a dumpster near the building. The items were consistent with having come from the children's apartment, said police.
It is not known at this time if the discarded items are related to the children's death. Homicide has not been ruled out. Liles is being held on a $25,000 bond.
Child Protective Services spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said their agency previously investigated the children's living conditions. On December 17, 2013, allegations of medical neglect and physical neglect were made at another location. The home had no running water, large amounts of trash and debris in the home and one the children had a bump on their leg that was infected.
During the investigation, the mother was able to move into adequate and safe housing for her children. She was also able to get care for the children's basic and extended needs, including medical help.
The case was completed on February 21, 2014. At the end of the investigation, the mother was living alone with her children, whom were in daycare while she worked.
KETK also spoke with friends and neighbors, and here's what they had to say. "People here, we're all family. What happened yesterday, it's a loss to all of us here," said Selma Bell, who describes Thursday as a blur. She said, "the thing I can remember about that little girl, those little girls, were their smiles.... That's going to haunt me forever."
Dalton German said he often babysat the two girls, and he just saw the two girls wednesday night before they went to sleep. "They're like my nieces, I mean a lot of people around here are like family. They were little bundles of joy," said German. He told KETK TJ is the one who came and got him, and told him the girls were dead. German said he immediately called 911.
Now all he's left with is the happy moments he shared with them. "They were bright, they were always cheerful, smiles, always talkative, whether you could understand them or not they were always talking to you," said German. However, he remains strong through his faith, and said, "from my religious stand point theyre up there with jesus now, they couldn't be happier, and they wouldn't want us to be sad."
KETK will bring you more information as it becomes available.