CPS Investigation Update (Press Release)

by Public Information Officer, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 13:53 (1232 days ago)

On August 28, 2012, Abilene Police responded to Dyess AFB after a 22-month old child was found deceased. A resulting investigation confirmed that Tamryn Klapheke died from serious bodily injury following extreme neglect. The child’s two siblings were equally neglected but survived the terrible circumstances. Tiffany Klapheke was arrested and eventually sentenced to 30 years in prison by a Taylor County Jury.

During this investigation, Abilene Detectives had grave concerns about the level of cooperation by local CPS supervisors. Eventually enough evidence of wrongdoing was brought to Administration’s attention, and a criminal investigation into these matters was initiated. A search warrant was executed at the Abilene CPS office on October 16, 2012, in furtherance of a Tampering with Physical Evidence offense, as defined in Penal Code 37.09. This is a 3rd degree felony, which carries a maximum of 10 years confinement and no more than a $10,000 fine.

In November of 2012, Judge Lee Hamilton appointed a special prosecutor to assist with this case. Assistant District Attorney Mark Parker of McLennan County (Waco) has worked alongside my department to bring this investigation to a Grand Jury. ADA Parker contacted me on July 15th and indicated he would present the investigation to a Taylor County Grand Jury on the 17th. That occurred and the Grand Jury returned a sealed felony indictment.

On July 26th at 1:10 pm, Martha “Bit” Whitaker self-surrendered at the Taylor County Jail. She was charged with 3rd degree felony Tampering with Physical Evidence, and was subsequently released on a $1000 surety bond. ADA Parker will continue the prosecution of this case and may bring additional charges against other persons.

Family Code section 261.3011 mandates that CPS collaborate with law enforcement agencies. We do not believe that happened with the Klapheke investigation, and we will continue to work with the Special Prosecutor. CPS Commissioner John Specia was notified of this arrest over the weekend.

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