SAN ANTONIO — For those who know D’Lanny Chairez, the month of April has been one regarded ominously.
In April of 2017, Chairez’s mother, Patricia Flores, pleaded guilty to the murder of her 2-year-old grandson.
In April of 2019, Matthew Dempsey, the father of Chairez’s infant son, James, pleaded guilty to the murder of his mother.
Now, in April of 2021, Chairez stands accused of abandoning her 1-year-old son, who still remains missing nearly a month after she was arrested.
“She called it last year and said something's bound to happen next April because something always happens in April,” said Chairez’s aunt, Mariesol Gomez.
Chairez was arrested in March on a charge of abandoning her son, James, and had one of her first hearings, a request for a reduction in bail, in April. Her arrest came nearly a week after the San Antonio Police Department requested help locating the mother and her young son, who had both been reported missing Feb. 22.
An affidavit for Chairez’s arrest detailed how she told investigators she wanted to give her child up for adoption because she wasn’t ready to be a mother and the child “deserved better.” However, court documents state she was silent about any information on her son’s whereabouts.
A judge initially set her bail at $250,000. Shortly after, her attorney, G.I. Bill Simmons, filed a motion for a bail reduction and another for an examining trial.
Defendants may request an examining trial prior to being indicted in order to have a judge assess whether there was enough probable cause for the arrest to be made. An examining trial can have numerous results, including the release of the defendant if a judge finds there is not sufficient evidence to continue to hold the individual.
However, while the law allows the state 90 days to indict an individual facing a felony, a request for an examining trial could prompt prosecutors to get the case indicted prior to the date of the examining trial, which would negate the right to the examining trial.
It’s unclear whether the case will reach an examining trial. Asked whether he thought the state lacked evidence to keep Chairez in custody on the charge, Simmons said he doesn’t file motions for show.
Presiding magistrate judge Andrew Carruthers on Tuesday granted the request for a reduction in bail, setting Chairez’s bail at $150,000 and modifying the conditions of her release, should she post bail. Simmons told KENS 5 via phone Tuesday he would not comment on whether Chairez was able to make the reduced bail, but said he wanted to get the conditions modified to allow for her to be on a GPS monitor as opposed to house arrest so she could go to school and work should she be released.
Faced with the possibility the charges could be dismissed in an examining trial, Gomez said she hopes that will not be the case. She said she believes Chairez belongs behind bars.
"I don't like that she's in trouble, but she brought this upon herself,” Gomez said. "But if they were just dismissed, then somebody is not doing something right …Obviously, it's child abandonment and she's not producing the baby.
"So if they let her go, what are they saying? That it's OK for mothers to just go and abandon their children anywhere and walk away? And guess what? You're not going to have no consequences to pay for that. You don't even have to show the child anymore because why we're going to take your word for it? Is that what they're trying to tell the public? That it's OK to do so? No, I wouldn't stand by that and I would have to make sure that my voice was heard even bigger than than it is right now.”
Gomez, however, said she’s conflicted, telling KENS 5 she will always love Chairez regardless of what she has or has not done. She said she has written numerous letters to Chairez and talked to her via phone last week, but added Chairez told her she was unable to talk about James.
"I told her, ‘How do you think we're doing?’” Gomez said. "You know? 'How do you think anybody's doing?' I did ask her, ‘In order for me to help you, I need you to help yourself. Please, you know, just say something, talk, you know, tell us where he is.’ She started crying. She says, 'I can’t. I can't talk about it right now, tia. I can't talk to you about it. I'm already talking to you against my attorneys advice.’”
Gomez said she spoke with her sister, Chairez’s mother, via phone and that Flores said she told investigators she believed Chairez could harm James.
Flores is serving more than 57 years behind bars after pleading guilty to murder. Flores told police she drew a bath of boiling water to clean and that her grandson, who was 2 years old, had accidentally climbed into the tub. Reports from KENS 5’s sister station, WFAA, note that she waited six days before getting the toddler help because she thought she could treat the burns on her own using her knowledge as a nursing assistant.
By the time she called for help, he was missing teeth, had internal bleeding and had gone into shock, the reports state. The boy ultimately died.
Gomez said, given her belief that James is dead, she now wonders whether Chairez had anything to do with the death of the 2-year-old boy.
Gomez speculated, “makes me wonder if my sister got charged for maybe an accident that D'Lanney had with the with her nephew. Because, you know, none of that case, to me – at the time, the little that I knew – doesn't sound like my sister. She's not that kind of person. But now here James is missing and (Chairez) went on the run. Makes me wonder: 'Did you have something to do with your nephew's death as well?'"
"I did ask my sister, though, ‘Are you serving time because of something D'Lanny did?’” Gomez said. "I said this doesn't make any sense. She's like, 'I just plead the fifth sister. I'm not saying nothing.’”
Simmons called the allegations made by one family member whom he declined to name “Fundamentally ridiculous, but more than ridiculous, they’re extremely reckless.” He said the individual would be “held accountable for their motives.”
Gomez said she confronted Chairez about Gomez’s whereabouts in February and recorded their encounter. She said during the conversation, Chairez told her she gave James to a “good family" because she wanted him to have a better life than the one she had. Gomez said Chairez told her she didn’t want to answer questions about her mother or James’s father—Matthew Dempsey.
Dempsey and a friend, court records state, beat Dempsey’s mother to death with baseball bats after she walked in on the pair robbing her home. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 42 years behind bars.
Gomez pressed said she pressed Chairez for proof she had given James up for adoption and did so again in her recent communications with Chairez.
"I told her that. 'What kind of good family did you find that doesn't watch the news or have social media that they haven't been able to bring James forward?’" Gomez said. "I said, ‘Maybe you should start questioning who you gave him to because this doesn't sound right.’”
Gomez said she will continue to send Chairez letters with photographs of James with the hope that it will trigger Chairez to come forward with information on his whereabouts.