Fate of Allegedly Starved Children Decided in Juvenile Court

While Ryan and Heather Sanders sat in the Nueces County Jail on Thursday, the fate of their children was being decided inside a juvenile courtroom.

It turns out, those parents, who were living on the beach and accused of not feeding their children, had thousands of dollars on them. That was just one of a number of facts that came out in open court Thursday.

"We're recommending to the court that the department remains sole temporary managing conservator with ultimate placement of all four children with Beth Davis, paternal grandmother," said Jenny Boyd with the County Attorney's Office.

Boyd asked Judge Brent Chesney to give the four Sanders children to their paternal grandmother. If that happened, Davis would be able to receive $2,400 a month from the state of Texas, along with Medicaid benefits, for as long as she provided a foster home for the children until she or someone else adopts them.

Dr. Nancy Harper, the physician in charge of the children's care at Driscoll Children's Hospital, said that a couple of the Sanders girls may end up having to see a specialist well into the near future, because their parents were supposedly starving them while they all lived in a tent near Bob Hall Pier.

However, it was revealed in court Thursday that the family had plenty of money for food because they had an H&R Block Emerald debit card with $6,000 on it. The judge ordered that the card be turned over to the state and used to pay for the children's future care.

"Once I receive the card, he would be willing to give me the PIN number, which would access that card where I can use that at anytime when we're traveling, or for whatever the kids need at that time," Davis said. "He would allow me that pin number to use it at anytime."

However, the judge did not grant Davis full rights to her grandchildren. He ordered that an extensive home visit and background check be done on her before she would get sole custody of the four girls, who range in age from newborn to four years old.

The three oldest children are expected to move to the Ronald McDonald House. Their grandmother will take care of them, and the baby should be out of the hospital by Monday.

Davis does have some competition when it comes to who will ultimately care for the girls. Their maternal grandfather showed up and does want custody of them.


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