Children may stay with kin
Children may stay with kin
CPS given temporary legal rights over four Overton kids
October 21, 2006
A judge ruled Friday that four children whose parents are accused of causing the death of a 4-year-old boy in their care will remain with their grandparents temporarily.
Juvenile court Judge Carl Lewis ruled that Hannah and Larry Overton's biological children can remain with their family members, but granted Child Protective Services temporary legal rights over the children. CPS also is responsible for their care, according to Regina Garcia, public information officer for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
"We're pleased with the decision of keeping them with relatives we've heard they're very bonded to," said Billie Winner-Davis, investigative program director for CPS.
Hannah Overton, 29, is charged with murder and her 30-year-old husband is charged with injury to a child in connection with Andrew Burd's death. They were attempting to adopt him at the time.
The Overtons' biological children were taken from the home Oct. 3 and placed in the custody of their grandparents. The Overtons are allowed supervised visits and must undergo psychological exams and take parenting and anger management courses, Garcia said.
After the hearing, one of the couple's attorneys said prosecutors lacked evidence to accuse the Overtons of murder and injury to a child.
"It's unfortunate they brought these charges with no evidence," Bradford Condit said, adding that final autopsy results are pending.
"The investigating officer admitted he had no evidence of any attempt of anybody to harm this child," Condit said, detailing testimony of an officer who investigated Andrew's death. "If you say something long enough, and loud enough, then twist it, the perception becomes it's true. However the perception is still false."
Prosecutors would not comment on the case nor the investigation Friday.
According to arrest affidavits, Hannah Overton fed Andrew a mixture of water and Cajun seasonings as punishment. After he drank the mixture, vomited and drifted in and out of consciousness, the Overtons waited nearly three hours on Oct. 2 before taking the boy to a medical clinic, the affidavit continued.
Preliminary autopsy results showed high levels of sodium in the boy's blood, which caused his death, according to the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office. Nueces County Medical Examiner Ray Fernandez said autopsy results aren't expected to be complete until mid- or late November, when results from out-of-state tests are expected back.
Contact Barbara Ramirez at 886-3792 or ramirezb@ caller.com