UPDATE -- Dora Martinez failed to show up Thursday at a previously scheduled status hearing in a pending child-custody case stemming from the drug raid on her family's home last December.
The father of the four missing children joined the hearing via phone from a federal detention facility and had the proceedings translated into Spanish.
Child Protective Services attorney Tiffany Wickel testified that all four children had tested positive for drugs when CPS got involved. She said Dora did not test positive at the time, and had been complying with a court-prescribed plan of action in the mean time.
Wickel said CPS had been pleased with Dora's progress, and that her future had seemed promising after the department learned federal authorities would not pursue charges against her following that drug raid. Prior to the alleged kidnapping, Dora had been having regularly scheduled supervised visits with her children. Based on her progress, CPS had recently increased the frequency of those visits.
Wickel went on to testify that on Monday night Dora had shown up at the home of a relative who was keeping the children during the custody case and told the relative she had recently received permission to have unsupervised visits with the children. Wickel and others testified that no unsupervised visits had been authorized. Separately, she said, Dora told the relative the "police were after her," which Wickel said was not true until after the alleged kidnapping.
Within ten minutes, Wickel said, Dora had packed the four children in a vehicle other than the one she usually drives and left. Suspicious, the relative called authorities to inquire as to whether the unsupervised visit was allowed.
Dora's attorney, Tonda Curry, said she had not been in contact with Dora since her last court date. Curry said a claim that she'd been the one to give Dora permission to take the children was false.
Toward the end of the hearing a lawyer representing the children's interest in the custody case pleaded with their father to come clean if he came into possession of any information pertaining to their whereabouts. Under oath, the father said he would do so. A representative of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) said the children had all been doing very well prior to Monday night.
Wickel revealed that U.S. Border Patrol and Mexican authorities have been notified of the situation, under the assumption that Dora would attempt to take the children to Mexico.
Judge Carole Clark expressed frustration with the situation. She said she found it worrisome, and hoped the children would be returned safely.
TYLER, TX – The Smith County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in locating four children who were taken by their non-custodial mother in violation of a court order.
Dora Elia Martinez, age 33, 5'1", 135 pounds, took her four children from the home of a relative on March 24. The children had been placed there by Child Protective Services after a narcotics raid at Martinez' home on December 10.
Martinez told the relative that she had permission to take the children.
The Smith County Sheriff's Office is searching for Martinez and for the children:
Jared Ayala-Martinez – 4 mos.
Jesus Ayala-Martinez – age 5
Jose Ayala-Martinez – age 7
Jonhy Ayala-Martinez – age 10
Dora Elia Martinez is wanted on four counts of Interference With Child Custody, which is a state jail felony. She may be driving an older model maroon, four-door Ford Explorer.
If anyone sees either of these children, please call the Smith County Sheriff's Office at 903-566-6600.