DCS won’t open records in baby kidnapping case

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 10:45pm

As the trial of the woman accused of kidnapping a 4-day-old baby boy and stabbing his mother is set for federal court this month, the child’s parents still don’t know why their children were taken from them by the state.

Tammy Silas faces a federal indictment on a kidnapping charge after police said she stabbed Maria Gurrola nine times, abducted Yahir Carrillo on Sept. 29, and drove him to Alabama where she was found with the child and arrested on Oct. 2.

Days after the infant was taken, Department of Children’s Services took custody of Gurrola and Jose Antonio Carrilo’s four children (including Yahir Carrillo).

The couple’s attorney, Elliot Ozment, filed motions in Davidson County Chancery Court under the Tennessee Open Records Act in an attempt to uncover the reasons DCS and the Metro Police Department had for suspecting any mistreatment by the children’s parents.

“When you go into a person’s home and you seize a family’s children that is a drastic step,” Ozment said. “I’m not aware of any information that either one of these agencies had that would have justified that step.”

A court briefing filed by Ozment claims DCS made its decision based on a “referral” by the MNPD shortly after the abduction because at the time the parents couldn’t be completely cleared of any wrongdoing in the abduction.

At the time, police said Silas claimed the couple agreed to sell the child to her for $25,000.

In a court order, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle concluded that the DCS records the couple sought explaining why the department temporarily took their children away were “privileged from disclosure under Tennessee law.”

But Lyle cited a 1997 federal case in leaving the door open to reveal the records.

“While it may be that Tennessee law yields to federal law if the plaintiffs file a federal lawsuit, see Farley v. Farley … the law they have cited in their complaint in this case is Tennessee law,” Lyle wrote in her order.

Ozment told The City Paper he hadn’t ruled out a federal claim, saying he didn’t yet know whether he would pursue the matter.

An attorney for DCS, could not immediately be reached for comment.

1 Comment on this post:

By: WittySage on 6/2/10 at 6:55

I certainly agree children should be removed from dangerous situations. However, the fact that civil servants can enter your home and take your children without your having the opportunity to defend against the accusations… I fear for our nation.