Military Mom Arrested for Starving Daughter to Death Blames 'Stress'

Military moms have it tough. Not only do they have to worry about whether their husbands will make it home alive, but they have to hold down the fort -- kids, pets, finances, house -- alone. Military husbands have it rough too. Not only the stress of their dangerous job, of course, but they have to trust that their spouses (both male and female, there are women in the military, naturally) are capable of holding down the fort. That the spouse won't melt down or abandon the family or otherwise do something crazy while going it alone.

But no matter how stressful going it alone can get for a military spouse, neglecting your child to the point of starvation and death is unacceptable. But her status as a military spouse, and all of the resultant stress, is the excuse that mom of three Tiffany Klapheke used when she allegedly starved her 22-month-old baby, Tamryn, until she died.

Police found Tamryn, who lived in Abilene, Texas with her siblings and mother, dead in her crib, with the home reeking so bad from urine and feces that a cop said the stench hit him in the face "like a tennis racket." Little Tamryn had reportedly died of malnutrition and dehydration, after having been neglected for days.

Tiffany already had a history with child protective services, which had investigated her a year earlier, but ended up closing out the case without rechecking the kids.

Tiffany went on to give interviews in which she blamed the lack of support and help, and her stress of dealing with three young children while her husband, Thomas, was deployed, for what happened. But prosecutors aren't buying it.

It's tempting to feel sorry for Tiffany -- who is now standing trial and faces life in prison -- because she grew up in an abusive home and in foster care. And three children by age 22 and a deployed husband are a lot to deal with. But this isn't a child who got into a mishap and died while the exhausted mom took a nap. This is a child who was severely neglected to the point where she had "chemical burns" on her skin from being exposed to fecal waste. This is a child who wasn't being fed! The other children, too, showed severe signs of neglect.

And then there's Tiffany's boyfriend, Christopher Perez, who was also charged. He was apparently living in the home with Tiffany -- and her husband, Thomas, says he had no idea they were having an affair. Perez claimed that Tiffany hid her daughter's condition from him, but prosecutors successfully argued that there is no way he couldn't have known about it. He was sentenced to three years confinement.

In short, we have a mom who has time for a boyfriend, but not to feed her baby. And that's inexcusable.

Sadly, the remaining children are now wards of the state, and Thomas has restricted custody.

Do you think military wives need more support?

Image via KTXS

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Eddie... EddiesMama1983

This is disgusting! What this "mother" did to her child is absolutely inexcusable! Military wives needing "support" has absolutely nothing to do with this so I don't know why you are using this article to support your damn agenda! The fact the CPS did nothing about this also makes me sick and the way Kiri Blakely written this article also makes me sick!



I really don't think this is about "support", this is about a pos mother who cared more about her needs! She did not check on that little girl for 4 days, and she was dead when she did. She comes off like I missed my husband but she's banging some other dude. Again a child is the sacrifice for a parent to have their needs met. Funny how she can't attach to her child but she can attach to a man no problem.

nonmember avatar Lauren

This woman is sick! The bastard boyfriend shoul've contacted the police letting them know that the whore he was banging is sick POS. How these freaks find each other is something I will never understand.

nonmember avatar Lisa

I was a single parent to my two children...I did IT ALL by myself...worked two jobs supporting them, paid the bills, took care of my home, laundry and got them both through 12th to graduate from high school! STESS IS NO EXCUSE!!! The stress I had indured rasising my two chilren on my own as a single parent never gave the idea of harming or huting my children! We as parents are to protect our children. Sounds like this woman just wanted her boyfriend and her children were in the way...God bless the little girl that past away under her care and God be with the two other children who have now been removed from her!!!! NO EXCUSE WHAT SOEVER!!

Fiend... Fiendishlyevil

I'm a military spouse with a 9 month old and my husband is deployed. There is plenty of support out there. Hell, I got a spousal support packet with numbers to call for help, activities in the area and even got a call from the base "Spouse Support Group"! I was given the phone numbers of everyone my husband works with, too!! My child is going through a growth spurt, teething, refufes to sleep in her crib and won't eat anything but breast milk. You don't see me neglecting my child. It is tough, but the help is out there.

femal... femaleMIKE


I am so tired of reading these depressing stories of children suffering.  I can only pray that any caregivers I trust my baby  to do not hurt him....ever.

Joyce Stafford

Why the hell does the husband have restricted visitation? The article states that he was deployed when this happened.

meaga... meagansmommy07

This woman is sick. I have two kids and my husband has been gone a year. While yes I'm more stressed out and they've seen me cry a few more times than they should have after a really bad day...I have never not been able to take care of them. Them being here in fact is what makes the time he's gone go by faster. They still require care, they still require attention and love regardless of if one parent is gone or not.

Vicki Mong

There is NO excuse for this! NONE!

Teri Gargone Proulx

I was wondering the same thing about the husband.  Why restricted visitation if he was deployed? That doesn't make any sense at all.  I would also put some of the blame on CPS for not doing follow ups after being called there once before.  CPS was lax in their duties and as far as the mother and her boyfriend both scumbags (regardless of whether the BF knew, how could he not) should both be held accountable to the max.

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