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New state child welfare head named in wake of Abilene-based Klapheke investigation

Published On: Nov 13 2012 09:03:25 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 27 2014 03:23:13 PM CST
Tiffany Klapheke

Tiffany Klapheke, 23, was arrested in August 2012 after she called 911 and first responders found her toddler – Tamryn – unresponsive on Dyess Air Force Base.

She is charged with first-degree felony injury to a child. If convicted, she could be sentenced from five to 99 years – or life – in prison.

AUSTIN, Texas -

A former senior state district judge has been named the new head of the Texas child welfare agency.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission appointed Judge John J. Specia Jr. on Tuesday to be commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

He succeeds Howard Baldwin, who resigned last week amid a criminal investigation of an Abilene-based office's handling of the death of a malnourished toddler.

The toddler's mother contends she was too stressed by her husband's deployment to care for her children.  

Four agency workers, including three in Abilene, are on leave while police investigate possible evidence tampering in the death of 22-month-old Tamryn Klapheke.

She was found unresponsive in her home at Dyess Air Force Base.  Her mother, Tiffany Nicole Klapheke, faces three child injury charges.