Foster parents won’t have to answer questions on toddler’s disappearance
April 11, 2007 - 9:00 pm
The foster parents of missing toddler Everlyse Cabrera won’t be forced to answer questions about the child’s disappearance during civil lawsuit proceedings, a federal court judge decided this week.
Attorneys for the child’s birth parents, Marlena Olivas and Ernesto Cabrera, unsuccessfully attempted to question Manuel and Vilma Carrascal about their custody of Everlyse during depositions in March. Olivas and Cabrera have brought a civil lawsuit against Clark County and several individuals related to Everlyse’s time in foster care, alleging child endangerment and failure to safeguard the girl once she was in protective custody.
At the time of the depositions, the Carrascals exercised their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, which was challenged by attorneys David Gibson and Gregory Mills, who represent Olivas and Cabrera,
The Carrascals’ attorney, William Doyle, said in court documents that his clients had properly invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and were entitled to the constitutional protections.
“The Carrascals reasonably fear prosecution for Everlyse’s disappearance, and it is clear the police investigation remains open,” Doyle said in court documents.
Everlyse, a 2 1/2-year-old, has been missing since June. The Carrascals told North Las Vegas police that the girl let herself out of the house sometime in the night. The couple has since refused to be re-interviewed by police.
Gibson said on Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Leavitt’s decision isn’t all-encompassing. The Carrascals do have to respond to questions about the personal information they submitted to Clark County on their application to become foster parents. That includes data about their finances, living circumstances and qualifications.
“We’ve had testimony from a (Clark County) licensing worker who said their application was incomplete,” Gibson said.
That raises the question of how the Carrascals became foster parents and if the information they provided was accurate, Gibson said.
The Carrascals may be dropped from the lawsuit after agreeing to a $300,000 settlement that would be paid out by a private company that insures Clark County foster families. That settlement has not yet been finalized, Gibson said.