KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Newly released court documents show a lengthy history of family violence and what happened inside a Killeen counselor’s office before three Central Texas children were abducted by their biological parents.
According to the arrest affidavits for Maria Gilseth, 32, and Jeffrey Gilseth, 32, Killeen police were called Thursday to the 1700 block of Central Texas Expressway for a disturbance at a counseling service office.
The counselor told police she was supervising a scheduled visit with three children and their parents.
The children Hunter, 11, Dylan, 9, and Levi Gilseth, 4, were removed from their parents in May 2018 after a two-month investigation led by child protective services in McCollough County.
The document says Maria became upset during the visit and state she could not “do this” anymore, she then called for the boys while Jeffrey held the counselor and “slightly pushed her back” while Maria walked out with the children.
She told police she tried to follow them but was able to keep up and eventually called 911.
The next day police secured warrants for their arrest, charging them with interfering with child custody, before notifying the public of the abduction over the weekend.
Maria’s youngest brother, Reid Blundell, said Tuesday the violence was between the parents.
“There were fights within the home potentially things being thrown, like dishes and stuff like that. I haven’t talked to the kids about those incidents. I try to stir away from that when I talk to them,” he said.
Blundell said the violence began early in their 12-year marriage.
“He [Jeffrey] became very, very controlling as the relationship developed she became isolated from friends and family.”
A document filed in McCulloch County said deputies with the Sheriff’s Department were called out to a disturbance at the home where Maria showed deputies’ bruises on her body she said were caused by Jeffrey.
She told deputies the children had witnessed the abuse and Jeffrey had threaten her saying “the children are not leaving the home over my dead body."
Maria told deputies the children had not experienced physical violence.
The three boys were then placed with their paternal grandmother while the investigation took place.
The document states Jeffrey told authorities Maria had initiated the fight and the bruising came from her suffering from a medical condition that caused issues with bruising.
Authorities advised both parents to live apart temporarily and to not be alone together with the children.
That is when CPS was called to provide the family with help.
The document states both parents were unable to stay away from each other and through interviewing the children there were prior physical altercations between the parents.
The attorney for Jeffrey, Eddie Shell, told News 10, there was no imminent danger and had followed the demands made by CPS and the judge overseeing the case.
Shell said, “CPS has failed this family.”
Both Jeffrey’s attorney and Maria’s brother said they had not heard from the family since the boy’s abductions.
“We’re hoping that they turn themselves in and that the kids are safe. That’s the number one priority just making sure the kids are safe” Blundell said.
Killeen police said Tuesday an AMBER Alert was not sent out in this case because it did not meet the criteria since the children were taken by a parent but not during a murder or attempted murder.