CPS Investigation (Press Release)

by Police Administration, Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 02:00 (2316 days ago)

ABILENE, TX – On August 28, 2012, the Police Department investigated a child death on Dyess Air Force Base, located in Abilene, TX. Twenty-two month old Tamryn Klapheke was pronounced deceased at Abilene Regional Medical Center. The person responsible, Tiffany Klapheke, remains in the Taylor County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000. She has retained legal counsel.

In the initial stages of this investigation, Abilene Police Detectives had concerns about Child Protective Services’ cooperation with the investigation. Specifically, section 261.301 of the Family Code mandates that CPS and local law enforcement conduct joint investigations. However, in the ensuing days following the death of the child, the Department became aware of instances in which CPS employees were told by supervisors not to cooperate with law enforcement. Additionally, records were requested by Detectives as part of the ongoing investigation. However, those records were not immediately rendered. Eventually they were provided, but only after several days had lapsed and the District Attorney requested the same records. Even then the records were not believed to be complete, thus complicating law enforcement’s investigation into the child’s death.

A criminal investigation into this conduct is ongoing. Specifically, the Police Department is investigating the alleged offense of Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence, Penal Code 37.09, which is a third-degree felony. Penal Code 37.09 stipulates that a person commits an offense if, knowing that an investigation is in progress, he alters, destroys, or conceals any record, document, or thing with intent to impair its availability as evidence. I want to make it clear that this investigation does not concern overwhelmed CPS caseworkers. I acknowledge CPS caseworkers carry a high case load, and most CPS employees are exceptional people trying to safeguard our children against abuse. Instead, this investigation stems from the refusal of certain CPS supervisors to cooperate with the Abilene Police Department regarding the Tamryn Klapheke death investigation.

This morning, at approximately 11 am, detectives executed search warrants for the local CPS office, as well as a CPS supervisor’s residence and vehicle. The Department had probable cause to suggest that documents and electronic media exist to support the continued investigation of tampering. Evidence was seized that will require extensive follow-up investigation. At this time, no arrests of CPS employees have been made. More investigation will be done, and more details will be released at a later time as the investigation allows.

Thank you,

Chief Stan Standridge

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