HOUSTON – The stepfather of three Houston children killed in March when their adoptive mother plunged the family van off a California cliff is speaking out about their fate for the first time since learning of their deaths just last week.
Nathaniel Davis believes Devonte, 15, Jeremiah, 14, and Sierra, 12, would still be alive if they'd been allowed to stay with their family.
"They were wrong. The way they took those kids was wrong," Davis said, referring to the Department of Family and Chidlren's Services and Child Protective Services. "They were sweet kids. Devonte was very smart."
According to court documents, the children's biological mother lost custody of the children in 2006 because of drug abuse and a long prior history with CPS.
But Davis says his wife was a good mother.
"Everybody's got problems, she was sweet. She never did let those kids do without. She would do without before them kids," he said.
Davis said he wasn't allowed to keep the children because he wasn't their biological father and also due to health concerns.
Court records show the children lived with a paternal aunt who tried to adopt them, but her bid was rejected after an unapproved, unsupervised visit with their mother.
After nearly a decade of not knowing where they were or how they were, Davis and his wife learned just last week, three weeks after the crash, that they were dead.
"It's hurting me because I know we had more to offer them than those people did. They would have had a better life. I sure believe it," Davis said.
On Monday morning, The Coalition for the Preservation of the Black Family held a vigil at the Harris County Family Law Center.
"We want to say to these courts and to say to this community that we're not just going to continue to stand by and let this happen to our families," said attorney Pamela Muhammad.
Davis said the family would like the children to be brought back to Texas for burial.