A case regarding a heartbroken family from Texas continues to gain national attention after Texas Child Protective Services forcibly removed their four-year-old son Drake from their home back in June.
The family is calling it a kidnapping. The state argues the parents have been giving unnecessary medical treatments. Drake is still currently in the custody of the state of Texas.
Although Drake was taken from his home in June, the case recently went viral after Heritage Defense, an organization dedicated to protecting “Christian families against illegitimate and unconstitutional attacks on their parental rights by government agencies,” shared a video about it to Facebook.
A website dedicated to bringing Drake home has been created and contains details from the perspective of the family, including a harrowing video showing the exact moment CPS removed Drake from his home.
The video, which was done by a Pardo family friend, explained how CPS arrived at the Pardo house-hold on June 20 and took Drake from his parents.
Drake was removed from his house by CPS due to a court order that called for an emergency removal following a missed doctors appointment. This was just one of several grievances in what the family believes was a gross abuse of power by the federal government.
Drake’s parents captured the heartbreaking last moments with Drake in their home before they were forced to relent, as armed officers were at the door.
Drake can be heard at one point in the video saying, “Can I take my Dad?” when asked which toys he’d like to take.
On July 2, the Pardo family appeared in court, in an attempt to get their son back, only to be ruled against again by Judge Michael Chitty.
On August 2, the family filed two emergency motions asking the Court of Appeals for emergency intervention.
On August 5, CPS responded to the Pardo’s second motion, saying that the parents should not be complaining because Drake is receiving proper medical care.
On August 9, there was a status hearing held for the case, which determines what needs to happen in order for a child to be returned to his/her family.
In this hearing, the CPS caseworker said that “Ashley and Daniel Pardo had to make a complete admission of guilt before they can get their son back.”
CPS’s reason for Drake’s removal
According to the court order, the Pardo family had failed to show up to a meeting with Dr. Suzanne Dakil at Dallas Children’s Medical Center, which was to be facilitated by CPS.
Before the parents could even grasp at what was going on, their child was gone. The family, who are working with lawyers through the Texas Home School Coalition, stated that they were never even notified of the June 10 meeting, which they were accused of skipping.
Following their no-show, Dr. Suzanne Dakil, the child abuse pediatrician assigned to Drake, called CPS worried that Drake was not receiving the medical care he needed.
InForney, a local Texas news outlet, reported that court documents show CPS removed Drake because they believed Ashley (Drake’s mom) might have a mental illness where one believes someone they are caring for has a physical or mental disorder that isn’t actually present.
According to the court documents, CPS accused Pardo of “exaggerating and lying about [her son’s] symptoms and conditions” and “demanding an unnecessary surgical procedure to place a G-tube.”
“The affidavit says two different gastrointestinal doctors have advised against the procedure, yet the mother has been actively looking for a third GI doctor,” they further point out.
Dr. Dakil, who has been treating Drake since he was an infant, believes Drake has “epilepsy, sleep apnea, immunodeficiency and fevers, autism, behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, dysautonomia, developmental delays and problems with feeding and swallowing.”
“I am worried about medical child abuse for this child,” Dakil wrote in the affidavit. “It is the recommendation of the GI team at CMCD that this child be admitted for feeding evaluation. Due to our concerns with mother, it is recommended that she not be present (or with limited presence) during this admission. We believe this is the only way to get a good understanding of his needs before any surgery takes place.”
According to the Texas Home School Coalition, the Pardo family had filed a complaint against Children’s Medical Center due to the fact that one of Drake’s doctors refused to see him after being checked into the facilities.
Dr. Dakil and CPS never actually saw Drake in person
On July 2, the Pardo’s case appeared before a judge in Kaufman County, where the judge, ruled against the family and slapped a gag order against them.
This came after Dr. Dakil and the state worker both admitted that they had never seen or talked to Drake or his parents, a stunning admission considering the drastic actions taken.
Dr. Dakil further testified she never requested Drake be removed from his home, and seemed surprised it happened.
Faithwire reached out to Dr. Dakil for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update the story with her comments if provided.
According to Jeremy Newman, director of public policy for the Texas Home School Coalition, the information held against Ashley Pardo was not true.
“According to Dr. Dakil’s uncontested testimony at the hearing, the family has only switched doctors one time,” Newman told the Christian Post. “They switched from one doctor inside Children’s to another doctor inside the exact same office. The reason for this switch, which Dr. Dakil admitted she was not aware of the reason, is because the first doctor refused to visit Drake for several days while he was admitted to the hospital. The family fired him, switched to another doctor in the same office, and filed a formal complaint against the first doctor.”
Newman explained how Ashley attempting to get a feeding tube for Drake isn’t what CPS was making it out to be.
“She also testified that she wanted Drake to have a feeding study to determine whether he needed a feeding tube,” Newman detailed. “She acknowledged in testimony that the only reason the family had declined the feeding study is that it is a 12-week in-patient study and they were unable to afford it. The family learned for the first time at the hearing that there was also an option for a local feeding study conducted by another facility. The family said they were happy to do this study but had never been told about it.”
Newman pinned the blame for the Pardo’s family predicament on Dakil, pointing out she had only completed her job halfway.
“So the doctor kind of punted and basically said, ‘Look, I have no way to confirm or rule out my concerns until I had a conversation with the family. And I haven’t done that yet. My job is just to report my concern and it is CPS’ job to investigate,’” Newman said. “And CPS punted right back and said, ‘Look, we’re not doctors, we’re just taking the doctor’s concern seriously.’ So my distinct impression of the hearing was neither side wanted to take responsibility.”
According to the Texas Home School Coalition, CPS has:
1. never seen or talked to the child;
2. not seen or talked to the parents;
3. not seen or talked to family members;
4. not seen or talked to neighbors;
5. not conducted a background investigation;
6. not attempted to resolve the issue without removal;
7. refused to disclose the allegations to the parents or to their lawyer;
8. misquoted and misrepresented a hospital doctor’s affidavit to obtain the court order and;
9. had no firsthand knowledge of any wrong doing by the parents;
Senator Bob Hall calls it ‘the most egregious display of injustice’
The case has drawn the attention of Senator Bob Hall, who hails from the same district as Drake’s family.
In an Op-Ed titled ‘Commentary: CPS Heavy-Handed Overreach,’ Hall argued that the CPS caseworkers decision to remove Drake was based on a personal agenda.
“Doing so, in essence, showed the family’s attorney that she was from the government, she could do anything to that family that she wanted to do, when the attorney indicated he was going to take the case up the CPS chain of command,” Hall wrote. “Knowing that judges, for self-protection, almost always side with CPS was the only path to ensure that she got ‘a pelt for her belt.’”
Faithwire reached out to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to get more details regarding the case, and the future of Drake Pardo but received no response.
We will update the story to include any comments we receive from our request.
Please keep Drake and family in your prayers!
UPDATE: DFPS responded to our request for comment saying they cannot discuss the details of the case because they are confidential by law, but did add that “placing this child in the state’s care was done legally under a judge’s order.”