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Waco Tribune Herald Article #3

01 Dec

CPS joins investigation into Thanksgiving fire deaths of twin 2-year-olds

 By Chelsea Quackenbush and Kirsten Crow Tribune-Herald staff writers

 Wednesday December 1, 2010

Child Protective Services joined the investigation into a fire that killed twin 2-year-old boys in Slater on Thanksgiving night.

Preliminary autopsy reports for the boys were released Tuesday.

CPS previously investigated Crystal Lee Coleman, 22, the mother of Trevor Ray Coleman and Leland Nolan Coleman, in Nevada before she moved to Texas, CPS spokeswoman Julie Moody said.

In June, CPS’ Texas division followed up with Coleman from the Nevada case about concerns of domestic violence in the family, Moody said.

“The children were seen at that time and exhibited no signs of abuse or neglect,” Moody said in an e-mail. “The case was still open at the time of this incident because she moved before it could be closed.”

The Gatesville Fire Department responded to a call in the 400 block of Star Lane on Thursday night.

The toddlers were sleeping in a small storage building that had been converted into living quarters and was ablaze when firefighters arrived. They were pronounced dead at 10 p.m.

CPS protocol calls for investigating all child deaths, but this case might require further investigation depending on the evidence, Moody said.

Coryell County Justice of the Peace Jimmy Wood said Tuesday that preliminary autopsy results indicate the twins died of thermal burns and smoke inhalation.

The manner of death, he said, is listed as accidental.

“It doesn’t mean the case was closed – (the medical examiner) didn’t feel the death was on purpose,” Wood said. “They might find there was fault there.”

Meanwhile, an investigation led by the State Fire Marshal’s Office is continuing, said Jerry Hagins, a spokesman for the agency.

A report will likely not be available for at least another week, he said.

Coryell County Sheriff Johnny Burks said he wasn’t sure if any charges would be filed against Coleman.

The incident is under investigation by the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab and the Texas State Fire Marshal.

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