A Cleburne mom who was arrested in August for allegedly causing serious bodily injury to her 13-year-old son was formally indicted in Tarrant County on Friday.
The five-count indictment against Danita Tutt, 40, includes charges for accusations of attempting to murder her son, causing him serious bodily harm by failing to provide him adequate food, lying to medical professionals, causing him to undergo unnecessary surgeries and exploiting her son using fabricated symptoms as a basis for a charity fundraiser.
Those formal charges, Tutt’s attorneys say, come just two days after the Child Protective Services division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services agreed to withdraw its efforts to end her parental rights.
When the case against Tutt began in May, doctors claimed her son, Colby, was the victim of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, but her attorneys claim statements made against her do not support previous medical records made by the same doctor just two months earlier.
Cleburne attorney Christopher Cooke, who represented Tutt in the CPS case, said all of the parties — which includes the attorney ad litem, court appointed special advocates and CPS — signed off on the agreement to dismiss terminating her parental rights and names her and her husband, Clint, as possessory conservators of both of their children.
“What that means is CPS will not be pursuing their case for termination of parental rights,” he said. “Mr. Tutt will have unlimited unsupervised access to the children and Mrs. Tutt will have unlimited supervised access pending the outcome of the criminal case. But the fact that CPS dropped their charges so to speak is going to be detrimental to the state trying to pursue their criminal case.”
Lisa Powell, who also represented Tutt in the CPS case, said if the criminal charges against her are dismissed she would be able to apply to get the children back as their permanent managing conservator.
“If the Tarrant County charges against her are dismissed or she is exonerated in a trial, then what Chris and I would do is file a document in Johnson County that is basically a motion to modify that the court return the children to her,” she said. “They would be able to move back in with her at that point on a permanent basis.”
Cooke said there has been a huge rush to judgement on Tutt over the past year.
“I think those that speak against Danita are speaking from a position of ignorance from the fact that they haven’t reviewed the medical records,” he said. “Mrs. Powell and I have reviewed them, and so has CPS. That’s the reason they have dismissed their case.
“CPS is the only entity in the state that is in charge of taking care of abused or neglected children and they are saying, ‘We’re out.’ That ought to tell you everything you need to know right there.”
Tutt’s attorneys said she has had a tremendous amount of support.
“People took what was said about her in the media at first, and they made their decisions about her based on things that were not facts,” Powell said. “Danita has done nothing but care for both of those children their whole lives. She has taken them to multiple appointments, followed everything the doctors have said. And she got in trouble for being a good mom. For questioning. For wanting a second opinion. Learning about the diseases that her children have and being able to talk intelligently about them. That’s what got her in trouble.
“But we have a stack of letters two inches thick from friends, family members and church members that are basically supporting the Tutt Strong idea. I think there is a conglomeration of people that have gotten together and made these signs and written these letters, and I think that is why this is being dismissed.”