Court documents show reports of sexual, physical abuse at Lubbock County home
Wonda and Dave Dixon were raising 10 adopted children
By GABRIEL MONTE AND JENNIFER LOESCH
Alleged sexual, physical and negligent abuse at a Lubbock County home where a couple — Wonda and Dave Dixon — were raising 10 adopted children have been revealed through court records.
Affidavits filed with the 137th District Court say Dave and Wonda Dixon ignored their 12-year-old adopted daughter’s disturbing behavior and punished her by withholding food and water and ordering her siblings to hit her.
“If she would not throw her food over the fence and feed the dogs when she is angry she would not lose weight,” Wonda Dixon is quoted as saying by a child abuse investigator.
Dave Dixon said the 12-year-old girl would urinate and defecate on herself as the family ate, court documents said. As a result, she would be sent outside to eat.
The couple — who are in jail — have denied any wrongdoing.
A-J Media does not disclose the name of victims of child abuse.
The girl was taken to University Medical Center on Aug. 21 at the request of a Child Protective Services investigator because of her emaciated condition, according to the affidavit.
Child Protective Services specialist Rosa Garcia described the 12-year-old girl as being
“unsteady, and appears to walk like she is about to break.” The girl’s spine and ribs were visible through her shirt, according to Garcia.
She weighed 57 pounds and a UMC doctor said her condition could have been fatal if it went untreated.
“The department feels that any child left in the care of the Dixons would be unsafe,” Garcia wrote in an affidavit. “The department believes there is a lot more going on in the home, but we will not get a clear picture of what that is until the children’s are removed.”
On Aug. 23, an emergency order was signed granting temporary managing conservatorship for the girl because of a lack of physical and medical care. A week later, another emergency order was signed and the other children were removed from the Dixons’ home.
The Dixons are in custody at the Lubbock County Detention Center facing charges of injury to a child, resulting in serious bodily injury. The crime is a first-degree felony, and a conviction is punishable by a sentence of five to 99 years, or a life sentence.
Their bond was set at $150,000 each.
A Lubbock County grand jury handed down sealed indictments Tuesday with the charges. It was unsealed Wednesday after the couple was arrested.
According to the affidavit, the Child Protective Services division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has received reports of abuse concerning the Dixons in the past.
Garcia wrote, “Adoptive parents, Wonda and Dave, are very good about covering things up and have taught (the children) not to disclose any information to anyone.”
As a result, previous complaints were ruled out and closed.
During August interviews with investigators, the children refused to be audio recorded and did not allege any abuse. They also said they did not want to leave the Dixons.
School personnel had concerns about the girl and contacted the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Teachers found the girl stealing food and eating out of trash cans, according to the affidavit.
After the allegations were made, the Dixons withdrew the girl from Laura Bush Middle School last school year.
Lubbock-Cooper ISD spokeswoman Jo Ellen Henderson said, “As per state law and board policy, anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal responsibility for reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services.”
Henderson did not comment on the Dixon case, but said district employees must submit a report within 48 hours after hearing or seeing situations or evidence that give rise to suspicion.
for the children?
Paul Zimmerman, a media specialist for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said just because a parent is convicted of a crime, they don’t automatically lose their parental rights — that’s decided in review hearings.
When parents make bail, whether or not they are allowed visitation with their children is decided by a judge. Zimmerman said therapists’ recommendations are taken into consideration during these hearings.
The affidavits said Dave Dixon told investigators he and his wife adopted children with bad behaviors no other foster homes would take. The Dixon children’s ages range from 3 to 14 years.
When asked by A-J Media why a family might adopt so many children, Zimmerman replied in an email.
Foster children who have been adopted may be eligible to receive subsidies depending on their levels of care and other factors, he said.
At the time of adoption placement, the financial aspect switches over from foster care payment to adoption subsidy.
Children may qualify due to the following conditions: being a sibling group, race, age and whether a child has special needs.
Subsidy is given until the child turns 18, Zimmerman said.