Tahlequah Foster Mother Taken to Jail for Reported Homicide
Cherokee County authorities arrested a Tahlequah woman this week on allegations that she murdered her two-year-old foster child. Deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office booked Delila Pacheco for the reported murder Tuesday.Deputies responded to a call of an unresponsive child Sunday. When they arrived, Undersheriff Jason Chennault said the child was dead. Officials stated that the child was found dead at the scene and had bruising on her mid-section. Chennault said the Medical Examiner's report came back Monday, saying the girl died from internal injuries."It's been rough on all of us. The OSBI agents involved, the child welfare investigators involved, we're all parents," Chennault said.Pacheco was later arrested after investigators questioned her and her husband around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.Pacheco's husband told Channel 8 she is a "good mother" and that he does not know what happened. The Sheriff's Office said the child was not in his care the night it happened, so he is not facing charges.The couple had three biological children and two foster children in their custody. The foster children were from a family member who reportedly had drug issues. The Pachecos have had them in their custody since September.The Sheriff's Office said Pacheco passed the Department of Human Services' background check to be a foster parent.DHS Communications Director Sheree Powell said this situation is a tragedy. She said DHS looks at background checks and investigates possible charges when selecting foster parents. She said parents also need to complete mandatory training."Oftentimes we're going to look first for family members, someone who is related to the child, who has a connection to that child, who can provide a safe home," Powell said.Powell said about 11,000 children are currently in state custody in Oklahoma. She said there is a need for more foster parents. Also, she said she knows of many excellent foster parents who work hard to care for children every day.Pacheco is in jail without bond.