Parents indicted on felony child abuse charges


Associated Press

Posted on October 5, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 5 at 11:02 AM

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The adoptive parents of 10 children were indicted this week on felony charges, accused of withholding food and water from their 12-year-old daughter and telling her siblings to hit her.

An affidavit shows that the girl was malnourished and weighed 57 pounds when taken to a Lubbock hospital in August.

Dave Howard Dixon, 62, and Wonda Faye Dixon, 58, are each indicted on a charge of injury to a child. They remained jailed Friday in lieu of $150,000 bond each.

Court documents show they deny wrongdoing. They did not have a criminal attorney as of Friday.

Child Protective Services removed all the children from the home in August after a civil proceeding placed them in foster care.

Efforts to reach the attorney handling their civil case were unsuccessful.

CPS specialist Rosa Garcia's affidavit described the girl as being "unsteady" and said she "appears to walk like she is about to break." The girl's spine and ribs were visible through her shirt, the affidavit states.

The girl was kept 24 hours a day in a room that smelled of urine and was allowed out only to shower and eat, according to the affidavit.

In August the girl had a black eye and a busted lip as a result of injuries inflicted by her adoptive siblings at the direction of Wonda Dixon, according to the affidavit.

CPS spokesman Paul Zimmerman said in an email that four reports in the past 18 months that accused the Dixons of abuse had been ruled out.

The affidavit states the Dixons "are very good about covering things up," teaching their children to hide information.

Wonda Dixon told investigators that if the girl "would not throw her food over the fence and feed the dogs when she is angry, she would not lose weight," documents state.

A Lubbock doctor treating the 12-year-old girl said if the child's medical condition was left untreated it could have proved fatal, court documents show.

The doctor said the girl "has shown a remarkable improvement in her eating and weight gain," gaining 7 pounds and refusing meals only twice while in the hospital, documents show.

Records show the girl at one point had weighed as much as 90 pounds.

The children include six boys, ages 3 to 14, and three other girls, ages 5 to 10.

Dave Dixon said the girl would urinate and defecate on herself as the family ate, and as a result would be sent outside to eat, court documents state.

Garcia's affidavit states that the Dixons used water hoses, extension cords and paddles to discipline her.

The girl told an investigator that one of her brothers sexually abused her and a female sibling, the affidavit states.

"The department feels that any child left in the care of the Dixons would be unsafe," Garcia wrote in an affidavit. "The department believes there is a lot more going on in the home, but we will not get a clear picture of what that is until the children are removed ... and placed in a safe environment."

All the children came from foster homes and were adopted by the Dixons between December 2009 and July 2012.