HILLSBORO (June 8, 2009)—Lee Jeter, the father of a Hillsboro girl who survived a brutal attack Friday night in which her younger sister died, is keeping an around-the-clock vigil at the Dallas hospital where his daughter is being treated, a family friend said Monday.
Meanwhile his estranged wife Debra Jeter, 32, who’s charged in the murder of one of her daughters and attempted murder of another daughter, was on a suicide watch Monday in the Hill County Jail in Hillsboro.
Debra Jeter is charged with murder and attempted capital murder.
Her bond is set at $1.5 million.
The 13-year-old survivor of the attack, Kiersten Jeter, was in stable condition Monday and out of the intensive care unit of Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Her 12-year-old sister Kelsey died of her wounds.
The two girls were stabbed Friday evening, after their mother picked them up from their father’s home and told her estranged husband she had a surprise for them.
Investigators say Jeter had told her children she had a night of surprises in store for them. She is said to have described an evening of singing American Idol songs and book readings to her daughters.
Four hours later a woman who refused to identify herself called 911 and told the operator she had just killed her children.
Hill County deputies, Hillsboro police and state troopers went to an abandoned farm house on U.S. 77 just off Interstate 35 and found Jeter standing just outside of the garage with her hands raised above the head.
Hill County Sheriff Jeffrey Lyon said Monday Jeter had blood on her arms, but appeared to have tried to clean herself off.
Her car was in the garage and on its roof deputies found a small knife.
Officers found the 12-year-old girl dead inside the house and the 13-year-old critically injured in a bedroom.
Their throats had been slashed.
Lyon said Monday the older daughter, Kiersten, had a stab wound in her back and evidently tried to protect her younger sister during the attack.
He said Debra Jeter and her estranged husband were in the middle of a divorce and said that she was picking up the girls Friday evening for the first time under the terms of a custody order.
He said investigators think she had been living with her mother in Malakoff, which is northeast of Corsicana.
But Lyon said Monday investigators reviewed cell phone records and determined that after picking up the two girls Friday evening, Debra Jeter drove to Corsicana and back, evidently in search of an abandoned house.
He said authorities responded to a 911 call from Jeter’s residence reporting an overdose on May 21.
He said Debra Jeter was referred to the Waco-based Heart of Texas Region MHMR after the 911 call, but said he didn’t know what happened after that.
Funeral arrangements for the younger girl won’t be made until Kiersten is out of the hospital, the friend said.
The family says memorial donations may be made to Paw Pals in Hillsboro because Kelsey loved animals.
Funeral donations are being accepted at Marshall and Marshall funeral home and funeral and medical donations are being accepted at Citizens National Bank.
Counselors were available Monday for classmates, Hillsboro ISD officials said.