Mother jailed in death of girl after 'surgery'

Woman associated with religious sect, police say

Abilene Reporter/July 26, 2005
By Jason Sheehan

A woman investigators believe is associated with the House of Yahweh has been arrested in connection with an injury to a child charge after she allegedly performed surgery on her 7-year-old daughter, who later died.

Deziree Kay Gideon was arrested Thursday on an outstanding Callahan County warrant after she was located in Young County, said Shane Deel, Callahan County attorney. Gideon, 35, remains in custody in Young County in lieu of $75,000 bail. Injury to a child is a first-degree felony and carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Gideon was indicted in May on the injury to a child charge, but the indictment was not made public until she was located and arrested in Young County, about 90 miles northeast of Abilene.

Gideon will be transferred back to Callahan County and arraigned, Deel said. A trial date has not been set.

According to the Callahan County indictment, Gideon ''intentionally and knowingly'' caused serious bodily injury to a child by ''cutting her with a scalpel'' and ''stabbing her with a needle'' on Sept. 16, 2003.

''They had attempted to perform a surgical procedure on her leg,'' Deel said. ''There was an infection they were trying to cut out.''

Deel, who took office in January, said he didn't know why the case wasn't prosecuted earlier.

The incident occurred at 2224 FM 603 in the home of a member of the House of Yahweh, Deel said. The House of Yahweh is religious sect with headquarters in Abilene and a compound in Callahan County.

''I'm not sure she was an official member,'' Deel said of Gideon, ''But she was associated with them.''

Calls to the House of Yahweh were not answered Monday.

The girl was taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene and later to Cook's Children's Medical Hospital in Fort Worth, where she later died.

Another woman also was involved with the procedure. Deel declined Monday to comment further about the status of the second woman.

The indictment also alleges that Gideon failed to seek medical care for the child and withheld information from medical personnel attempting to treat the child. Gideon had a legal duty to seek medical care and provide correct information to medical personnel because the girl was her daughter, according to the indictment.

The House of Yahweh is an Old Testament-based sect with headquarters on T&P Lane in Abilene and a 43.53-acre compound between Clyde and Eula in Callahan County.

It gained notoriety in 1996 when several hundred of its followers changed their last names to Hawkins. That was in honor of the sect's founder, Yisrayl Hawkins, who changed his name from Bill Hawkins after leaving the Abilene Police Department in 1977.

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