CPS previously investigated family of Wood Co. children who died - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

CPS previously investigated family of Wood Co. children who died

Thomas Wayne "TJ" Liles. (Source: Wood County jail) Thomas Wayne "TJ" Liles. (Source: Wood County jail)
Authorities investigating dumpster. (Source: KLTV News staff) Authorities investigating dumpster. (Source: KLTV News staff)
Authorities investigating dumpster. (Source: KLTV News staff) Authorities investigating dumpster. (Source: KLTV News staff)
WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Two toddler girls are dead after an incident that is under investigation in Wood County, and their mother's 19-year-old boyfriend is in police custody.

The incident began on Thursday, when Quitman police were called to the Dogwood Villa Apartments where the girls were found unresponsive. A man is said to have called for emergency help for the children. Liles was home alone with the children at the time.

Multiple witnesses at the scene say Liles had been observed running from the apartment and threw "a large item" into a dumpster beside the building before help arrived to assist the girls. When help arrived, the girls were deceased. "He went to dump [the items] from what I can recall..t he went to the dump and somebody saw him," said neighbor Selma Bell. Bell said the items looked like large pipes, but she did not know what kind.

The Department of Public Safety  said that Quitman police then asked for assistance from the Texas Rangers. The Rangers joined police and are now leading the investigation.

Authorities searched the area, and when searching the dumpster found items that were believed to have come from the apartment where the girls died. Liles admitted to placing the items in the dumpster. He was then arrested for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, a third degree felony. He is in the Wood County jail on a $25,000 bond.

Police say it is unknown at this time whether or not the discarded items are related to the death of the girls."We don't want to make any mistakes, especially with children this young," said Quitman Police Chief Kelly Cole. "We're going to continue our investigation and interviews tonight."

The Department of Child Protective Services says they investigated the family in December of 2013. The allegations were medical neglect and physical neglect. The home, they say, had no running water, a large amount of trash and debris was found inside the home, and one of the children had a bump on her leg that appeared to be infected. This investigation occurred at a different residence, we are told, not at Dogwood Villa Apartments.

During the investigation the mother was moved into adequate and safe housing with her children. She was able to utilize resources offered by CPS to care for the girls' basic needs and extended needs. They were also given medical care and were receiving treatment for the bump that was found on one child's leg. It healed and there was no other harm or injury to the child, CPS says.

CPS says the case was closed because the children were safe and being cared for properly by the mother. The three of them were living alone and the children were in daycare while she was at work. The case was closed on February. Neighbors say the boyfriend, Liles, came into the picture a few months ago.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.


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