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Suspect also accused of abusing daughter, 9



CLEBURNE -- David Michael

Giddens, arrested this month

after the death of a baby in his

care, has also been accused of

sexually abusing his 9-year-old

adopted daughter.

The allegations came during a

temporary custody hearing

Monday in Johnson County 249th

District Court to determine

whether the girl should remain in

foster care, be returned to her

mother or placed with another


Giddens remains incarcerated in

the Johnson County Jail after

Nicholas Hoffert, a 3-month-old

whom Giddens and his wife

planned to adopt, died Feb. 9.

Investigators found the boy had

suffered head injuries near the

time of his death.

Giddens has been charged with

injury by omission resulting in

death. A criminal investigation is

ongoing, officials said.

Authorities removed Nicholas'

twin brother, Gary, from the

home after the incident, after

investigators discovered that the

child had seven broken ribs,

bruises on his back and injuries to

his legs. Officials returned the boy

to Michigan, where the Giddenses

went to adopt the twins.

Visiting Judge C.C. "Kit" Cooke

ruled Monday that the 9-year-old

girl, who has special needs,

should remain in foster care. The

Star-Telegram generally does not

identify alleged victims in sexual

assault cases.

Cooke said he wants to review

the case again in two weeks, after

the Texas Department of Family

and Protective Services completes

a home study of the girl's aunt,

Kathy Strube. A status hearing is

set for April 17, but a custody

ruling could come sooner.

Doug Wright, an attorney

representing Giddens' wife,

Latresa Lynette "Lynn" Giddens,

said he is glad the judge put the

case on a fast track.

"We didn't get what we wanted,

but we believe Lynn will be

cleared of any wrongdoing," he

said. "Lynn is very motivated to

get her daughter back."

Wright said he believes that the

child's aunt will be given

temporary custody, and that the

girl will be returned to her


Shelly Fowler, an attorney

representing the interests of the

children, said that after being

removed from her home, the 9-

year-old told her foster mother

and a team of doctors and nurses

that her father had abused her.

During the hearing, Latresa

Giddens said she had no

knowledge of the sexual abuse

allegations, but that she would

believe her daughter. David

Giddens, who attended the

hearing, declined to testify.

Investigators questioned Latresa

Giddens about taking her

daughter to the doctor because of

"pain in her private area." She

said she thought her daughter

had a bladder infection, but a

urinalysis proved negative.

She said she was not aware of

injuries to Gary or Nicholas. When

asked why she didn't notice

Gary's bruises, she replied that

she saw the child with his clothes


Since Nicholas' death, Latresa

Giddens has filed for divorce,

attorneys said.

Latresa Giddens worked during

the day at the University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School and

left the children with David

Giddens, who has multiple

sclerosis, and her aunt.

Meanwhile, several witnesses

praised Latresa Giddens for her

patience in raising the girl

2006 Feb 28