Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 45th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015PA01326 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor,
Associate Judge Presiding
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice, Rebeca C. Martinez,
Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice.
Jocelyn T. appeals the trial court's order terminating
her parental rights to her son M.T. On appeal, Jocelyn T.
argues that the evidence is legally and factually
insufficient to support the trial court's finding that
termination was in the best interest of the child. We affirm.
25, 2015, the Texas Department of Family and Protective
Services filed a petition for protection of a child, for
conservatorship, and for termination in a suit affecting the
parent-child relationship. At the time M.T. was removed from
Jocelyn T.'s care, M.T. was thirteen months old. On
August 9, 2016, the case proceeded to a bench trial. Jocelyn
T., who had notice of the trial, did not appear. Her attorney
announced "not ready" and stated that the last time
he had had contact with his client had been July 15, 2016.
The Department stated that Jocelyn T. had had notice of the
trial setting. It explained that it was also trying to make
contact with Jocelyn T. because she had just given birth to a
new baby. The trial court noted that M.T. was also a very
young child and that this was the second trial setting. The
trial court decided to proceed with the trial.
Testimony of Vicki Williams
Williams, an investigator with the Department, explained that
M.T. came into the care of the Department in June 2015:
The referral came in for neglectful supervision. The
allegation stated that mom and [Timothy W.] had gone to a doctor's office. They
had hit a grandmother and her granddaughter in the office
while they were holding [M.T.] in the office.
to Williams, when she spoke with Jocelyn T. during the
investigation, Jocelyn T. and Timothy W. claimed that M.T.
had been in the stroller during the incident. Williams
testified, however, that there was videotape of the incident
and what Jocelyn T. and Timothy W. claimed "wasn't
true." "[T]hey were holding [M.T.]." Williams
testified that even after being told of the videotape,
Jocelyn T. still did not "change her story."
Williams testified that based on her investigation, she had
concerns about M.T.'s welfare:
I was told there was domestic violence between the couple -
that they were seen in the apartment complex fighting,
physically, between the two of them. [M.T.] was always clean
when I saw him. He was never - you know, I wasn't
necessarily concerned about the way they treated him, but the
way they treated each other in front of him.
to Williams, the Department had initially wanted "to do
a parental child safety placement" and when she went to
Jocelyn T.'s apartment to discuss the matter, Jocelyn T.
"was willing to do it." Jocelyn T. called a friend
who was willing to care for M.T. However, Timothy W. came
home, demanded that Williams and the police leave the
apartment, and stated that he would not allow M.T. to be
taken care of by the friend. Williams testified that the
Department then filed an affidavit for M.T.'s removal.
testified that as a result of the incident at the
doctor's office, both Jocelyn T. and Timothy W. were
arrested. Jocelyn T. was charged with child endangerment, and
Timothy W. was charged with two counts of assault bodily
harm. Williams ...