UPDATE: Both parents of toddler who died in Joaquin house fire arrested for child endangerment

UPDATE: Both parents of toddler who died in Joaquin house fire arrested for child endangerment
(Source: Shelby County Jail)
(Source: Shelby County Jail)

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A 29-year-old Joaquin woman who lost her 2-year-old daughter in a Feb. 17 house fire has been arrested and charged with felony child endangerment after her 4-year-old son tested positive for methamphetamine.

Raven Whitteck was booked into the Shelby County jail on a state-jail felony child endangerment charge on Saturday. She posted a bail amount of $5,000 and was released later that day.

Shelby County authorities arrested the child's father, Jesse Whitteck, Monday afternoon on the same charges. He also posted a bail amount of $5,000 and was released.

According to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, the child endangerment charge had nothing to do with the Feb. 17 fire, which occurred at a residence located at 917 FM 3082.

The arrest affidavit stated that a SCSO investigator was notified by Child Protective Services that Whitteck's 4-year-old son tested positive for meth. In addition, both Raven Whitteck and the boy's father tested positive for meth as well, the affidavit stated.

"We've seen it more and more here at the Children's Advocacy Center where the parents using drugs is a problem," said Denise Merriman, Executive Directer of Shelby County's Child Advocacy Center.

CPS officials took custody of the little boy on the day of the fire that resulted in the death of Roselynn Whitteck, 2, and two days later East Texas News learned that the children's parents had allegedly used meth on the morning of the fatal blaze.

"It affects how they perform at school, their health, and safety. It can lead to neglectful situations where they are not taken care of," Merriman said.

According to an affidavit a CPS investigator filed in Shelby County's 123rd Judicial District Court on Thursday, Det. Chad Brown with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office called the CPS official about a fatal house fire that occurred Wednesday.

"He advised that the father admitted to using methamphetamine and that there was evidence the mother also used methamphetamines," the affidavit stated.

The affidavit stated that Roselynn's body has been sent off for an autopsy.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office received word at 12:39 a.m. on Feb, 17 about a house fire that occurred at a residence located at 917 FM 3082. Later, the sheriff's office was notified that Roselynn had died in the fire.

When the CPS investigator arrived at the hospital, the official learned that Jess Whitteck, the children's father, had refused to allow the hospital to check out his 4-year-old son, the affidavit stated.

Raven Whitteck, the children's mother, was unconscious when she was transported to the UTMB Burn Unit in Galveston for treatment of burns on her hands and possibly some internal damage.

Jesse Whitteck told the CPS investigator that he wasn't home when the fire started, but when he arrived, it was still burning.

"He admitted to methamphetamine use and stated the mother, Raven Whitteck, also used methamphetamines," the affidavit stated. "He later admitted to medical personnel that he and the mother had used methamphetamines that morning. It is also believed that he and the mother argued that morning."
Later, the CPS investigator talked to people at the hospital and confirmed that the couple had refused to allow medical staff to check their 4-year-old son into the emergency room for a thorough examination although he had been at the home when the fire started.

"Based on the admitted drug use, refusal to allow the child to be examined at the emergency room, and the unknown circumstances of the fire including the sibling's death, it was determined the department had exigent circumstances to take custody of the child immediately," the affidavit stated.

The State Fire Marshal office said the case is still under investigation and could not say if the fire appeared to be suspicious.

The affidavit stated that Jesse Whitteck was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2007.

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