3-year-old dies in CPS custody - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

3-year-old dies in CPS custody

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"Can't no one raise your kids better than you can," a distraught Latasha Riles said.

Riles gave birth to seven children when she was 28 years old.  In July, Child Protective Services took her children into protective custody.

"I did the best I could to make sure they had everything they needed," Riles said.  "They never went homeless; they never went around dirty; they always had a place to stay."

To hear CPS tell it, Riles was a neglectful, abusive parent and all her kids would be much better off in foster care.  Riles, who has never been convicted of a crime, admits she has had some issues.

"Yes sir, I have smoked marijuana," she said.  "I'm not going to lie about that.  I've done things I know I wasn't supposed to do."

"Forget about what a mother was or was not," Pastor F.N. William's Sr. said.  "A child is dead."

That child is Markel Collins.  The three-year-old died while living in a licensed foster care home on Sept. 22.  Markel had to breathe through a tube and required special medical attention.  Riles' baby was dead for at least a day before she knew anything about it.  She said CPS wasn't even the bearer of the bad news.

"Not through CPS, not through a foster mother but through a friend," Riles said.

CPS admits they didn't know about Markel's death until Sept. 24.  CPS and the Harris County Sheriff's Office would only say they are conducting investigations.  The cause of the baby's death is pending autopsy results.

"She needs answers and no one is being upfront with her," Pastor Moses Thomas said.

"The whole three years she's with me, she doesn't pass away and within two months, she passes away in you all's custody," Riles said.

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