A special prosecutor has been named in the investigation of a state child welfare agency’s handling of the death of a malnourished Abilene toddler.
Judge Lee Hamilton has issued an order appointing the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office (Waco) as special prosecutor, Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said in a news release Friday.
According to Standridge, Mark Parker will be lead counsel – and he will be under the direction of McClennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna.
"It's going to take him [Parker] days if not weeks to go through both offense investigations and then my staff will basically await his directions as to how this case proceeds," Standridge said.
Four Texas Department of Family and Protective Services workers, including three in Abilene, are on leave while police investigate possible evidence tampering in the death of 22-month-old Tamryn Klapheke, who was found unresponsive in her home at Dyess Air Force Base.
The agency’s head, Commissioner Howard Baldwin, announced his resignation Thursday.
The girl's mother, Tiffany Nicole Klapheke, faces three felony child injury charges. She remains in Taylor County Jail on $500,000 bond on charges that she severely neglected Tamryn and her two sisters. The two sisters are now in foster care.
Tamryn Klapheke died six days after CPS closed a case investigation of medical neglect without the mandatory final visit with the Klapheke family.
Meanwhile, Standridge said he is "pleased with the progress of this investigation.”
"In the weeks ahead, detectives will present their evidence to Mr. Parker for his consideration,” Standridge said.