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Affidavit details troubled life of Cleburne boy

4-year-old’s death continues

By Matt Smith

An affidavit filed in the 413th District Court paints a grim picture of the life of 4-year-old Buddy Cook, found dead in his Cleburne home on Friday.

Cleburne police and firefighters responded about 11:30 a.m. to Cook’s home on Odell Avenue on reports of a child not breathing.

Buddy was already deceased when rescue workers arrived.

No charges have been filed in connection with his death, Cleburne Police Detective Kelly Summey said Wednesday, but investigation into Buddy’s death continues. Summey said police are waiting for toxicology and histology test results from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, which should take three to four weeks.

A judge on Monday placed the remaining seven children in the home into foster care. An adversary hearing to determine placement of the children is scheduled at 3 p.m. April 8.

The Affidavit in Support of Removal of the remaining children alleges that Buddy Cook died of “malnourishment.”

Buddy’s body appeared “malnourished and had bruises, bite marks, a cut above the eye and marks around his wrists,” according to the affidavit.

Buddy had medical issues including post traumatic stress disorder, a sexually transmitted disease and Reactive Attachment Disorder, according to the affidavit and “self-harming behaviors such as biting and hitting himself.”

Buddy was “emaciated” and appeared to be “only skin and bones,” the affidavit said.

His mother, Angel Cook, told investigators that Buddy threw up the night before, ate dinner and threw up again, according to the affidavit. She checked him for fever, but said he didn’t have one.

A sibling told CPS investigators that he “heard noises coming from Buddy’s bedroom like groans and banging and that the groaning only lasted 45 seconds,” according to the affidavit. “He stated Buddy was probably banging because he couldn’t breathe. [The sibling] stated he and his mom came to check on Buddy and he wasn’t breathing and then his mom started crying and called the police.”

The same sibling said Buddy’s biological mom would “let men do stuff to him,” according to the affidavit.

Angel Cook said she and her husband, David Cook, adopted Buddy from his mother, David’s half-sister, who had been abusive to the boy, according to reports. Angel Cook said when Buddy first came to live with them, he “had been severely abused by his biological mother and would sit in the corner and stare straight ahead while rocking back and forth.”

David Cook said Buddy and his sister, also adopted by the Cooks, “are a product of an incestuous relationship between their mother and her first cousin,” according to the affidavit.

Angel Cook said their adoption of Buddy Cook finalized “roughly eight or nine months ago,” according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Angel and David Cook said they had been giving Buddy Ensure for three to four weeks because they could see he was losing weight. They also said Buddy had not been eating or drinking and that he had been getting worse over the last couple of months, the affidavit said.

Angel Cook said her husband advised her to take Buddy to the doctor and that she was planning to do so on the day he died, according to the affidavit.

“Mrs. Cook was asked why Buddy had not been taken to the doctor due to concerns of his weight loss,” according to the affidavit. “Mrs. Cook stated she was going to take Buddy to the doctor as soon as he got over the stomach bug; she had no other reason for not seeking out medical treatment or advice for Buddy.”

David Cook denied taking Buddy to the doctor and said, “I work,” adding that “Mrs. Cook takes the children to the doctor,” according to the affidavit. David Cook said he brought up the subject of taking Buddy to the doctor with Angel Cook but doesn’t remember when and “doesn’t know the last time Buddy went to the doctor.”

CPS workers on Saturday were informed that dehydration and malnourishment are the preliminary causes of Buddy Cook’s death and that he weighed 31 pounds.

Angel Cook self disclosed during her CPS interview that there was an investigation regarding Buddy. Shari Pulliam, spokeswoman for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said Wednesday that there is no record of any such investigation or reports in their system.

Records have been requested from Oklahoma and New Mexico, where Buddy’s biological parents resided, but have not yet been received, according to the affidavit, which notes there are no reports of abuse against Buddy by his biological parents out of Oklahoma.

The affidavit notes that neither David nor Angel Cook have a criminal history, but states that Angel Cook received a criminal trespass warning against her involving Cleburne schools and an incident where she was involved in an arson investigation. The report lists no additional details or the dates of either event.

2013 Mar 27