Ector County Grand Jury Finds Medical Examiner's Office "Reckless," Indicts Odessa Mother on Child Endangerment Charges

Ector County Grand Jury Finds Medical Examiner's Office "Reckless," Indicts Odessa Mother on Child Endangerment Charges

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - An Odessa mother has been indicted on seven charges of endangering a child due to cocaine found in her children's system.

As you may recall, Odessa Police were called out to Medical Center Hospital back in October after an infant tested positive for cocaine.

The infant, who was born pre-mature, died 25 days later in the hospital.

An investigation later revealed that she had six more kids between the ages of 2 and 11 years old also tested positive for the drug.

31-year-old Talisha Cleveland, also known as Talisha Redic, was arrested for the charges.

However, that wasn't the only finding handed down by the Grand Jury on Monday.

The Grand Jury also considered the actions taken by the Ector County Medical Examiner's Office. According to a press release, Odessa Police requested an autopsy of the infant that died. However, Shirley Standefer, the Chief Investigator for the Medical Examiner's Office, made a decision to deny the request without consulting the appointed Medical Examiner.

According to the Grand Jury, "We find that an autopsy should have been performed and it was reckless of the Medical Examiner's Office Investigators to not seek an autopsy. As a result of this decision, evidence was destroyed which has limited our ability to fully investigate the matter at hand. We, the Grand Jury find that the Investigators of the Ector County Medical Examiner's Office lack credibility, competence and accountability, and we recommend the Ector County Commissioners' Court take immediate action against the agency."

Odessa District Attorney Bobby Bland said in a press release, "I appreciate the hard work of the Grand Jury and its findings. They are consistent with the evidence and bring to light troubling issues regarding justice in Ector County. The maximum punishment for the current charges is two years in prison. Had an autopsy been performed we might have been able to develop evidence sufficient to charge the defendant (Redic) with a first degree felony, which carries the maximum penalty of life. Justice has been denied for this infant's death."

NewsWest 9 will continue to follow this story.