by Anayeli Ruiz
BIG SPRING - It's a story that has everyone talking in Big Spring. A case of child endangerment takes an even more disturbing turn. The children's mother and grandfather were arrested and that's when sheriff's officials determined the man fathered a child with his own daughter. As NewsWest 9 found out, Child Protective Services already had their eye on this family and neighbors say they've always had their suspicions.
"From the first time I ever met them, I suspected that he might be the father to all three of the kids," Diane Hofacket, a neighbor of the Whitt Family, said.
Hofacket owns a store on Highway 87 and the Whitt family lived right behind her store. She says she knew something was wrong with her neighbors.
"The way they looked, the way he looked, I just didn't see her without him. It was real hard for me to imagine she had a boyfriend or anything," Hofacket said.
On Sunday night, the Howard County Sheriff's Office found a young child riding his bike on Highway 87. They made contact with the seven year old and found out he had been restrained with a straight jacket. Sheriff's went into a home and found three children living in deplorable living conditions. CPS took all three of the children ages seven, five and two. They also discovered that Edgar Dale Whitt had fathered a child with his daughter Tamara Whitt.
"I know they've been living out there for two years with no water. My concern was how are the kids bathing? How are they flushing commodes," Hofacket said.
Neighbors told NewsWest 9 they didn't really see much of the Whitt family. Edgar Whitt never left his family out of his sight and he covered all the windows around the house.
"I noticed he would never let her get out of his sight. She was always real close by him. I just suspected in case she said something," Hofacket said.
Hofacket said she never saw the kids outside playing, she was so concerned of their safety so she decided to call CPS and in January they began investigating the family.
"You have to have more than just suspicion even though I suspected him being the father to his grandchildren," Hofacket said.
But despite everything, Diane is grateful that the authorities were able to finally do something and she only hopes for the best for the three children.
"I am hoping he is prosecuted to the fullest and they never get the kids back. They don't need them that way, the kids will have a chance," Hofacket said.
The investigation into the case continues.