Mom accused of performing surgery on child who died

Abilene, USA — A woman who may have been involved with a religious sect is accused of performing surgery on her 7-year-old daughter, who later died.

Deziree Kay Gideon was arrested last week on an outstanding Callahan County warrant after she was found in Young County, about 90 miles northeast of Abilene, said Shane Deel, the Callahan County attorney. Gideon, 35, remains jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Gideon was indicted in May on a charge of injury to a child, but the indictment was not made public until she was found and arrested. She faces a maximum punishment of life in prison if convicted.

According to the Callahan County indictment, Gideon cut her daughter with a scalpel and stabbed her with a needle in 2003, then failed to get medical care and withheld information from doctors trying to treat the girl.

Gideon was trying to remove an infection from the child's leg, Deel said. The girl later died at a hospital.

Deel said the incident occurred in the home of a member of the House of Yahweh, a religious sect with headquarters in Abilene and a compound in Callahan County. Gideon may not have been an official member but was associated with the group, Deel said.

Calls to the House of Yahweh were not answered.

The House of Yahweh is an Old Testament-based sect that gained notoriety in 1996 when several hundred of its followers changed their last names to Hawkins. That was in honor of the sect's founder, Yisrayl Hawkins, who changed his name from Bill Hawkins after leaving the Abilene Police Department in 1977.

Another woman also was involved with the surgery, but Deel declined to comment about whether she will be prosecuted.