CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A Shelby County grand jury has indicted the parents of a 2-month-old baby that died in a house fire that occurred on Feb. 17, 2016, on unrelated child endangerment charges.
However, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, the child endangerment charges filed against the Joaquin couple had nothing to do with the fatal house fire. Jesse and Raven Whitteck were each charged with state-jail felony child endangerment after their 4-year-old child tested positive for meth.
Jesse Whitteck, 31, was arrested on March 7, 2016, and Raven Whitteck, 29, was arrested on March 5, 2016. They were released from the jail after they each posted a bail amount of $5,000.
The Feb. 17, 2016, fire occurred at a home located in the 900 block of 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 methamphetamine. 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 on Feb. 17, 1016.
"He advised that the father admitted to using methamphetamine and that there was evidence the mother also used methamphetamines," the affidavit stated.
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 Shelby County grand jury also indicted Anthony Letroy James, of Center, on two counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault, second-degree felony aggravated assault and third-degree felony unlawful restraint. The indictment states he hog-tied a woman and sexually assaulted her while holding a pocket-knife to her throat on Sept. 11, 2016.
Center Police officers arrested James on an unrelated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Sept. 1 In connection to a stabbing incident in which two people were stabbed and cut.
One of the victims suffered a punctured lung and was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Nacogdoches for treatment of his injury.
According to a press release, Center PD officers responded to a home in the 1000 block of Garrett Street in response to a report of a stabbing incident. A CPD detective was also dispatched out to process the crime scene.
The Center detective discovered that the two victims, Carlos Booth, 19, and Mon-Travious Harris, 18, had been stabbed and taken to the Nacogdoches Medical Center in Center for treatment of their injuries. Further investigation revealed that James, who is the victims' neighbor, got angry with them, walked over to their house, and attacked the two men, the press release stated.
James allegedly stabbed Booth under his left rib area, puncturing a lung. He also cut Harris on his lower torso, the press release stated.
The Center PD located James at another home in the 110 block of Garrett Street. He and his girlfriend were arrested without any further incident and taken to the Center Police Department, where they were booked in on the charges listed above.
Harris was treated for his injuries and released. Booth was later airlifted to a Nacogdoches hospital for treatment of his stab wound.
Cresensian Garcia, 18, was indicted for first-degree felony engaging in organized criminal activity, second-degree felony aggravated assault, and first-degree felony injury to child.
The charges are in connection to allegations that Garcia and his younger brother, who is a juvenile, burned their mentally challenged 12-year-old sister with hot sticks that had been put in a fire.
The 18-year-old and his brother are also accused of engaging in organized criminal activity by recruiting gang members at a Center ISD campus, according to an arrest affidavit.