Death Investigation: Daughter showed signs of odd behavior before - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/4/10

Death Investigation: Daughter showed signs of odd behavior before death

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By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Court documents obtained from the Lubbock County Courthouse may shed light on the suspicious deaths of a Lubbock County mother and her 12-year-old daughter. The four documents show an alarming pattern of the sixth graders school attendance since last September.

Many questions surround the investigation of the deaths of mother Karen Holton and her daughter Shelby. For example, how long the bodies had been left in the home until discovered by deputies on February 1st. The four documents discovered at the courthouse, may help give a time line leading up to the two deaths authorities say are suspicious.

The records show Shelby missed a week of school from September 21st to the 25th, and then again the following Monday on September 28th. Both mother and daughter went to court for truancy on October 23rd where the mother, Karen, wrote a hot check to pay for the $100 fine.

Then about a month after being in court, the two violated the courts judgments on not missing any more school. Shelby missed school November 23rd and then the entire week of November 30th to December 4th. She also missed the next Monday. On December 18th they were summoned back to court.

The next court document on Shelby's absences could help piece together the timeline leading up to the deaths.

January 5th Karen withdrew Shelby from Frenship Middle School. On the 11th, the school notified Karen she needed to enroll Shelby into a school as soon as possible. Two days later on the 13th Shelby was enrolled in Terra Vista Middle School. Then on that Friday, the 15th the records indicate Shelby brought a doctor's note from the Wolfforth Community Health Center saying she was under the care of a doctor since January 4th but could return to school on the 12th.

The very next week Shelby was absent from the 19th to the 22nd. The documents show Karen contacted Terra Vista each of those days to inform them her daughter was ill and wouldn't be coming in. Shelby was again a no show the following Monday, only this time there was no word from her mother.

The documents do not indicate whether or not Shelby attended the remainder of the week after the 25th and Frenship would not comment about Shelby's attendance. "We cannot release any information about students due to federal law.  We also have to honor families' privacy.  We hope the court documents would show that we are following our procedures on truancy," said Public Relations Director Andy Penney, speaking for Frenship ISD.

There are only six days between January 25th, the last day the records show Shelby was absent, to the day the bodies were found on February 1st. Authorities say the bodies had been left undiscovered in the home for several days, possibly a week, bringing that date back to the 25th.

Deputies wouldn't comment on when or with who the last person Karen might have spoken to before her death. According to these records it could be possible the last person Karen spoke to was about two weeks ago telling Terra Vista Middle School her daughter wouldn't be coming in.

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