Accused Tyler Mother Talked Of Postpartum Concerns - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/10/07-Tyler

Accused Tyler Mother Talked Of Postpartum Concerns

Since 1997, Tyler police have been called to Catherine Stevens' home six times.

It was after the May of 2006 incident when CPS was contacted, by a source they wouldn't identify. That source alleging neglectful supervision.

"Ms. Stevens at the time was in a mental hospital after being off of her medications and suffering a mental breakdown," says Shari Pulliam, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Family and Child Protective Services.

The Beaumont office, which works Smith County cases, says its investigation included going to Stevens' home.

"We looked at the home situation, saw the child, the child was happy, healthy. There were no signs of abuse and neglect on this child," says Pulliam.

Monday, Tyler police said they did not believe Stevens' alleged actions were postpartum related.

But we found out during CPS' investigation, Stevens made comments about feeling some anxiety with being a new parent, even doubting her parenting skills.

"If one person, one parent is mentally ill and we take that person into custody under a mental health warrant, that doesn't mean we don't release the child to the other parent who may be fine," says Tyler Police Assistant Chief of Police Steve Sharron.

Even though Tyler police officers receive some training techniques to identify mental illness, they say to arrest or even hold someone in custody like Stevens for mental illness they would have to be evaluated by a mental health professional.

"All medical notes, doctors' comments, social workers' comments from the hospital stated that [Stevens] was not a threat to her or to the child," says Pulliam.

In June 2006 CPS closed its investigation into Catherine Stevens. More than a year later her 2-year-old would be dead.

CPS also told KLTV 7, arrangements were made to make sure Catherine Stevens was not watching the child alone. They say either her husband or extended family would be there with her.

Stevens was hospitalized at Andrews Center in Tyler. CPS says she was receiving follow-up care there after her release.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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