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Autopsy: Baby had chemical burns

ABILENE, Texas (WKYT) - A central Kentucky mother has been charged after one of her three children died in Texas.

The mother, 21-year-old Tiffany Klapheke, spoke out from jail Wednesday night after police in Abilene, Texas arrested her.

According to her Facebook page, she's originally from Georgetown, and now she's facing three counts of felony child endangerment.

According to the preliminary autopsy, just released in Texas, 22-month-old Tamryn Klapheke, was found to have signs of dehydration and malnutrition "consistent with a prolonged lack of basic care."

While there were no signs of trauma, the medical examiner did find chemical burns on the little girl's body. Investigators say those burns appear to have happened after the child's death and are likely to have been caused by the human waste the child was exposed to.

Police say Klapheke's two other children, a three-year-old and a six-month-old are recovering from their injuries also sustained from the severe neglect.

Investigators say the family was been living at a home on Dyess Air Force base in Abilene.

Klapheke's husband, Thomas, is currently deployed to Afghanistan, and according to Tiffany Klapheke's cousin, Larry Huff, the airman is attempting to make his way home soon.

Huff said via phone, "I can't imagine how he feels to find out he had this tragedy happen in his home with his children and wife."

From jail Wednesday, Klapheke told our sister station in Abilene that she made some mistakes.

"I should have taken them to the doctor. I should have been a good mom. And I should have took all three of them and just took them to the doctor. I didn't put them first anymore," said the mother.

While news of her arrest and the child's death came as a shock to Huff and other family members. The cousin did say there was a noticeable change in the 21-year-old mother's behavior.

"Things started changing or going downhill when husband was deployed," he said, adding that as time went on it seemed that Klapheke started shutting herself out from other people.

"I'm so just stressed out and depressed. I just need help taking care of them and I don't have any help or any family around or anything," stated Klapheke in her jailhouse interview.

She also went into detail about the difficulty she had potty training the child that died, "She was doing it all the time and I just got tired of always changing the sheets so it was on there a little bit longer than it should have been. And so, it was wet and she was laying in the wet spot for like a week."

Police say the two surviving children are expected to be moved from the Intensive Care Unit in the near future.


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