Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
IN THE INTEREST OF D.G. AND A.G., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 140th District Court Lubbock County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2016-520, 233, Honorable Kara L. Darnell,
Associate Judge Presiding
QUINN, C.J., and PIRTLE and PARKER, JJ.
C. PARKER, JUSTICE
"Val" appeals the trial
court's order terminating her parental rights to her
children, "D.G." and "A.G." Appointed
counsel for Val has filed an Anders brief in support
of a motion to withdraw. Finding no arguable grounds for
appeal, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
2016, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
became involved with D.G. and A.G. due to allegations that
Val allowed her sixteen-year-old boyfriend to have sex with
one of her other children. As a result of that investigation,
the Department placed D.G. and A.G. with Larry and he filed
suit for custody. Ultimately, in August of 2017, Larry and
Val were appointed as joint managing conservators of D.G. and
A.G. Larry was designated as the conservator with the right
to determine the primary residence of D.G. and A.G., while
Val was ordered to pay child support and given a standard
February 2018, the Department became involved once again.
This time, the allegations alleged the neglectful supervision
of D.G. and A.G. by Larry. It was reported that Larry and his
sister smoked crack cocaine in a closed bedroom while D.G.
and A.G. were in the living room. It was also reported that
Larry was selling his food stamps and that D.G. and A.G.
"looked like orphans." During the Department's
investigation, Larry admitted to illegal drug use and tested
positive for methamphetamine and cocaine. Val has had minimal
contact with D.G. and A.G. since the sexual abuse allegations
were investigated in 2016, and the Department was unable to
locate her. D.G. and A.G. were removed from Larry's care
and placed with their paternal grandparents.
April, the Department filed its petition for protection,
conservatorship, and termination of the parental rights of
Val and Larry and scheduled an adversary hearing. Val did not
appear at the hearing and did not participate in the case.
Department developed a family service plan for Val and, over
the next several months, continued its efforts to locate Val.
Department caseworker Dominica Castillo testified that she
located two possible addresses for Val from previous
Department investigations. In April, Castillo went to an
address at 1118 66th Street where Val had lived with her
mother. A lady answered the door and told Castillo that Val
did not live there. In May and June, Castillo went to 5525
4th Street, Apartment #12, but no one answered the door.
Castillo called a telephone number for Val and left a
voicemail message informing Val of Castillo's role in the
case and requesting that Val contact her. Later, Val called
the Department and left a voicemail message for Castillo.
Castillo returned the call, but Val did not answer the phone.
sent certified and non-certified letters to the 4th Street
address in July, August, and September. None of these letters
were returned. The Department provided both of these
addresses to the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, but
their attempts to serve Val at the 4th Street and 66th Street
locations were not successful.
August, Castillo learned that Val recently used the 4th
Street address when she renewed her Medicaid and food stamps.
The Department, once again, gave this address to the
Sheriff's office, but service on Val was unsuccessful.
paternal grandmother gave Castillo information that Val was
working at the Murphy USA gas station on 4th Street and that
address was also provided to the Sheriff's office, but
they were not able to serve her at that address. In
September, Castillo sent a letter to Val at the 4th Street
address enclosing Val's plan of service and to let Val
know that she would be receiving a new caseworker,
also testified to her efforts to locate Val. Heckard called
Murphy USA but no one would confirm that Val worked there.
Heckard also called the phone number the Department had for
Val and drove to the apartment on 4th Street, but no one
answered the door.
four attempts at personal service, the Department decided to
serve Val by publication. Heckard prepared an affidavit
detailing the diligence used to locate Val. Based on this
affidavit, the trial court authorized service ...