SAN ANTONIO — Five young brothers of Baby King Jay Davila are going home to their grandparents, after a judge delivered a stinging rebuke to Child Protective Services.
"My finding is there was no reason to remove them from the grandparents, for various reasons," said Richard Garcia, an associate judge in children's court.
The state removed the children from the only home they have ever known earlier this month, citing concerns for safety after King Jay died in January. Christopher Davila, who was living with the boy’s mother, first said the baby had been kidnapped in a car theft, but the story unraveled and Davila eventually led investigators to a shallow grave where the boy was buried.
Detectives have said that Davila told them the boy fell, sustained head trauma and died without medical care when he panicked and did not act to save the child.
Garcia said while the state presented concerns about adequate supervision and appropriate medical care for the surviving children, their arguments did not convince him the children were in immediate danger at the hands of the grandparents.
“I don't find that to be abuse or neglect in that regard, so that was not a reason to remove, and I didn't find any immediate danger,” Garcia said. "It's in their best interest that I place these children with the grandparents—today.”
The five children had been staying in two different foster homes in the Comal County area, according to testimony.
The state tried to establish a pattern of abuse and neglect, testifying that caseworkers saw one of the boys run into the street unattended when they pulled up to the house for a visit. The same worker testified that when a child fell from a couch, the grandparents did little to see if the child was injured.
Prosecutor Sarah Jennings tried to question grandmother Maria Morales about an old injury discovered on the body of King Jay, telling the judge, "There was a healing fracture in the deceased child that occurred during the time period when the grandparents were the caretakers."
The family argued the boys were safe with grandparents.
Step-grandfather Fernando Yee told the court he worked a night shift as a welder to ensure he could be available to take the boys to and from school.
When questioned about medical care and counseling for the boys, Yee said he would ensure the children received care if they had the legal authority to do so. The judge sided with the grandparents, telling the state, “You didn't meet your burden."
There were hugs and tears of joy in the hallway for family and friends.
Pam Allen, of Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach, said dozens of people had rallied to help the family, saying supporters were at a loss to understand why the children were removed without warning.
"Hearing the screams in the background, and children being taken, and no explanation as to why. It was so frustrating, that day," Allen said.
The judge also ordered supervised visits, parenting classes and home studies for additional family members.
Garcia also ordered everyone to return to court with status updates on June 14 and July 2.
With regard to the pending criminal cases, Davila and his cousin, Angie Torres, alleged to have been involved in the cover-up of King Jay's death, are still in jail. Davila’s mother has been released on bond.
Davila is charged with injury the baby by omission, drug possession, being a felon in possession of a firearm and hiding the baby’s body.
Torres and Beatrice Sampayo are charged with tampering with evidence, accused of participating in the false report of the child’s kidnapping.
PREVIOUSLY IN THE KING JAY DAVILA CASE: