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Klapheke Case: Witness list outlined for child neglect, death trial

By Ariana Garza, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 05:21:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 27 2014 03:49:35 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Both the ex-husband and ex live-in boyfriend of a woman whose toddler died of alleged neglect on Dyess Air Force Base will testify in her upcoming trial.

Tiffany Klapheke, 23, is set to undergo a pre-trial hearing Jan. 17 and undergo a jury trial Jan. 27 at the Taylor County Courthouse. Her toddler, Tamryn, died of malnutrition and dehydration on base in August 2012.

According to the witness list KTXS obtained Thursday from the courthouse, prosecutors are summoning 27 witnesses and defense attorneys have only summoned one witness.

 District Attorney James Eidson and Assistant DA Joel Wilks will prosecute the case. George Parnham of Houston and John Young of Sweetwater are Klapheke’s defense attorneys. 

Below, we discuss some of the most notable witnesses that will be called to testify in Klapheke's case.

Of the 27 state witnesses, nine are police officers and two are Child Protective Services workers.

Thomas Klapheke, who was married to Tiffany when Tamryn died, is also listed as a witness. He was deployed overseas at the time of Tamryn’s death but returned shortly after, successfully filed for divorce and left the air force as of Aug. 1, 2013.

Airman Christopher Perez — who is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence after a judge agreed with military prosecutors that he was Tiffany Klapheke’s live-in boyfriend when Tamryn died — is also a prosecution witness.

The five people associated with the base who will also be called as witnesses include a representative of the Dyess Family Advocacy Center, Edward Wilcock, who testified during Perez’s trial that the Klaphekes had been investigated for possible neglect in the past.

Other prosecution witnesses include Metroplex-area doctors and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner Dr. Marc Krouse who conducted Tamryn’s autopsy. He ruled the manner of death as homicide by malnutrition and dehydration.

At this time, Klapheke’s defense attorneys have only summoned one witness — a counselor in the University of Kentucky’s Psychiatry Department. That is the same department which conducted mental health evaluations on Klapheke in her teenage years.

In September 2013, Klapheke spoke exclusively with KTXS about those evaluations which included tales of abuse and neglect at the hands of her biological family. She said she wanted her attorneys to take a close look at her history. The same month her lawyer John Young told KTXS there are “some significant and difficult mental health issues” in the Klapheke case.