Pastor: CPS must not rush

He says action would punish man whose wife is held in infant’s death

The pastor of a Plano homemaker charged with cutting off her baby’s arms criticized authorities Wednesday for rushing to judge the woman and her husband.

Doyle Davidson, pastor of Water of Life Church in Plano, said efforts to end the parental rights of Dena and John Schlosser are premature. They have two older girls.

“This man has had his house devastated,” Mr. Davidson said. “It’s not a time to start pounding on him with accusations.”

Mr. Davidson referred to court papers filed Tuesday in which Child Protective Services officials accused Mr. Schlosser of ignoring his wife’s comments of wanting to “give her child to God” the night before she cut off the arms of her 10-month-old daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, in their Plano apartment. The baby died.

“For someone to interpret her saying that she said she was going to give her child to God as meaning that she was going to kill the child is absurd,” Mr. Davidson said. “Nobody knows what she meant when she said that.”

In court papers, CPS officials cited an interview with Mr. Schlosser on Monday in which he acknowledged his wife’s comment and did not act to prevent her.

Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency is not seeking to permanently end parental rights of the Schlossers, though the documents mention terminating the “parent/child relationship” several times.

“It’s a very broad statement and it means that, at some point in the near future, we may seek to terminate rights,” Ms. Gonzales said. “But for now, all we’re seeking is temporary custody of the children.”

The girls have been in foster care since Monday. A court hearing is scheduled Wednesday to determine whether the girls should remain in foster care or go home with Mr. Schlosser.

Mr. Davidson said that he talked with Mr. Schlosser for about 30 minutes Monday and that the father was grief-stricken over his baby’s death.

“He’s at a point asking, ‘What do I do next, what happened to me? Where’s everyone going?’ ” Mr. Davidson said.

Church leaders have said the couple sporadically attended the church but were not well-known among the membership.

Meanwhile, McKinney attorney David Haynes said he visited with Mrs. Schlosser within hours of being appointed to defend her Wednesday. Mr. Haynes said he planned to request an examining trial and bond hearing for his client. He declined to discuss details of the two-hour interview with Mrs. Schlosser.

“But I’m concerned how well she understands the situation she’s in and how much she understands what the case is about,” Mr. Haynes said. “I’m trying to contact her family, and I know she wants to see her husband.”

Mr. Haynes said Mrs. Schlosser, 35, is being held without bail in the Collin County jail infirmary, where she is receiving medical care. He could not confirm whether his client has been examined by a psychiatrist.

In Plano, police were awaiting autopsy results on the child, according to Officer Carl Duke

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Dallas Morning News, USA
Nov. 24, 2004
Tim Wyatt

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday November 25, 2004.
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