Dyess Base Commander speaks about supporting military families after tragedy on base

Dyess commander says support is available for military families

ABILENE, Texas - It's been over a week since a tragedy happened on Dyess Air Force Base – when the spouse of a deployed airmen allegedly neglected her three children, resulting in the death of one.

Tiffany Klapheke, 21, was arrested Aug. 29 on three counts of felony injury to a child after police said her alleged neglect led to the death of her 22-month-old daughter Tamryn at their home on Dyess Air Force Base.

How is the base and community supporting the father after coming home from deployment?

"The squadron has been great," Dyess Air Force Base Commander Col. Glen D. VanHerck said. "When he returned they cleaned his house for him. We've moved him to a new house. His mom and dad were here to help support him as well. They've been there standing by him this whole time, which is awesome to see."

On Wednesday and Thursday, leadership at Dyess Air Force Base also held a series of town hall meetings for families and spouses. Anyone on base was welcome to attend to ask questions in an open forum.

"We are trying to open up lines of communication and foster a little bit more team building," VanHerck said. "All the feedback I have gotten has all been positive. Each one, we had more and more spouses attend."

We asked VanHerck if he plans to take action to make sure an incident like the one last week doesn't occur again on base.

"There will probably most likely be some changes, but until their investigation is complete and I have all the facts, we're not going to take any direct action," VanHerck said.

"I can't comment specifically on the case, but I will tell you that any actions that need to occur based on that will occur. I will follow through with that," he said. "Additionally, if any folks that are culpable additional to the spouse that's already incarcerated. I will hold them accountable as well."

VanHerck thanked the community for all that they have done to help support the family during this difficult time.

"It's a very tragic incident so many have sought care, neighbors to this family have sought care because of the amount of emotion that's come through," VanHerck said. "It's going to be a tough time and a long road for recovery. We appreciate everything that everyone is doing."

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