MONTAGUE -- Several weeks ago, 20-year-old Sharon Worthy agreed to give Child Protective Services the birth date of Curtis Copeland, the Denton County man she was living with, so the agency could run a background check on him before he was allowed to be alone with her children.
She didn't do it.
According to a CPS court petition obtained Tuesday, the agency has been keeping an eye on Worthy and her family, who live in Bowie, since at least 1991 when Worthy was 20 months old. The most recent case is dated March 9 and involves an investigation of possible physical abuse of Worthy's 3-year-old son, Jesse Fisher.
On March 31, Jesse died at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. Medical personnel alerted authorities that the child had numerous injuries and had been sexually assaulted, authorities have reported. Worthy and Copeland were the only people who had cared for Jesse alone recently, and their accounts of his injuries differed, authorities said.
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Now the young mother is in the Denton County Jail with bail set at $250,000. She faces a charge involving failure to call authorities or to get medical help for her child.
Copeland, 26, is also in the jail, facing a capital murder charge. His bail is $500,000.
CPS has set in motion the legal process to take permanent custody of Worthy's two surviving sons. The petition obtained Tuesday outlines the agency's concerns.
About 6:30 a.m. March 30, Worthy left her sons, Jesse and Malachi Yeley, 1, alone with Copeland at the Denton County residence he shared with his father while she went to a Bridgeport hospital for scheduled induced labor to have her third child, the CPS petition states.
The baby, named Arian Lee Worthy, was born about 5 p.m.
While Worthy was in Bridgeport, an ambulance was called for Jesse, whom Copeland said he found unconscious on the floor of a bedroom. Jesse was pronounced dead the next afternoon at Cook Children's.
The boy suffered a head injury, a broken vertebra, a broken hip and bruises all over his body, and he had been sexually assaulted, officials have reported. When authorities checked on Malachi, he had a "busted lip and a bruise on his bottom," according to the CPS petition. Worthy could not tell CPS officials how he had gotten them, the report states.
CPS officials say the baby born last week is at "substantial risk of harm because of [Worthy's] lack of protective abilities."
The state agency is asking the court to keep Worthy's two sons in foster care, terminate her parental rights and terminate the rights of their fathers. According to the petition, Malachi's father is Eddy Clyde Yeley. Yeley or Copeland may be the father of the newborn, the document states. CPS has requested DNA testing to determine paternity. Jesse's father, Jesse Flemming Fisher, is in prison.
A hearing is set for Monday in Montague.
According to the petition, the agency has 10 investigative reports on "Sharon Worthy as a child" from January 1991 to April 2002. The complaints ranged from neglectful supervision to sexual abuse, the documents state.
In one case, Sharon Worthy was abused by a relative, according to court documents. Agency officials found what is called "reason to believe" in more than half the reports.
CPS has four reports on file about Sharon Worthy as a parent. In March 2007, a report of neglectful supervision and physical neglect was filed involving Jesse. Investigators reported finding no neglect.
In July 2009, she was reported for medical and physical neglect and neglectful supervision. That time, investigators found "reason to believe" the report involving Jesse and Malachi, records show. CPS offered family services for her, according to the document.
In December, CPS received another report of neglectful supervision. That report was recorded as "unable to determine."
On March 9, CPS received a report of physical abuse involving Jesse. That report was being investigated when the child died.
'I'm being punished'
Worthy's mother opposes the CPS request to terminate Worthy's parental rights. "I don't think they should take custody," Melody Worthy of Bowie said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Melody Worthy said that she has some mental problems but that she hopes to have other relatives at the hearing Monday to seek custody of the two children.
According to the CPS petition, Melody Worthy was with her daughter at Cook Children's on Tuesday night when a CPS investigator questioned Sharon Worthy.
Melody Worthy told her daughter, "You might as well kill yourself" when the investigator told them that Malachi was in foster care and the baby would be, too, when the hospital discharged him. Melody Worthy "stated several times that she was going to kill herself because we took her grandchildren from her," the investigator wrote.
On Tuesday, Melody Worthy said, "I haven't done anything wrong, and I'm being punished."
Her grandson, Jesse, was a fine boy, she said.
Before Friday, Sharon Worthy had no arrest record. The CPS petition includes the information that Worthy was "negative for all illegal substances" when a drug test was conducted before the baby was born last week.
Copeland had been arrested 10 times since 2001 on charges ranging from arson to aggravated assault, according to court documents.
Malachi's father, Eddie Yeley, was arrested once for burglary of a building.
Jesse Flemming Fisher Sr., Jesse's father, was in prison on a charge of aggravated assault on the day his son died, court documents state.