Las Vegas Sun

April 15, 2014

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Mother of stabbed kids is indicted

A mother of two children who were stabbed in Mesquite in January 2003 was indicted along with her boyfriend on 14 counts of child abuse and neglect on Thursday.

Tamara Ann Schmidt and husband Robert John Schmidt II, who have married since the incident, had faced 18 counts of child abuse and neglect for leaving then-10-year-old Brittney Bergeron and her 3-year-old half-sister, Kristyanna Cowan, by themselves at the Casablanca RV Park where they were stabbed.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday in Mesquite on those charges was delayed because of the Clark County Grand Jury grand jury indictment.

Prosecutors filed a stipulation and order to waive the presence of attorneys and voluntarily dismiss the Mesquite case, thereby paving the way for Clark County district court ot take the case, said Judy Biasi, deputy court clerk for the Mesquite court.

The Clark County indictment alleges that the Schmidts were negligent when they went to the casino at the nearby Casablanca resort leaving the children defenseless.

Beau and Monique Maestas have been charged in connection with the attack on the girls that killed Kristyanna and left Brittney paralyzed from the waist down.

The girls, who were asleep in a recreational vehicle while their mother and her boyfriend were at the casino, were awakened about 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2003 by a man who knocked on the RV door and told the 10-year-old her mother was injured, police said.

When the girl opened the door, the man grabbed her and stabbed her, police said. Investigators believe he then stabbed the 3-year-old.

Authorities allege Maestas siblings stabbed the children after discovering that the Schmidts sold them bogus methamphetamine.

The initial neglect charges were filed against the Schmidts in Mesquite Justice Court in October that led to the brief arrest of the couple, her attorney, Stephen Caruso said.

Caruso said his client is not guilty of the charges in the indictment.

"It's not illegal to leave a kid alone in Nevada," Caruso said. "When tragedy strikes, the police come knocking on your door."

Caruso said Tammy Schmidt has turned her life around and has been clear of drugs for two years.

"It's a heart-wrenching case," Caruso said.

Tamara Schmidt has worked in the restaurant business for two years and married about a year ago, Caruso said. They live with her in-laws, he said.

She has followed the state's plan to protect her children to the letter, her attorney said. The purpose of a state plan is to return the children to the parents once the children's security is in place.

"Every hoop they put in front of her, she jumps through it," Caruso said.

Judge Gerald Hardcastle has reviewed Schmidt's compliance with the plan and said she has complied, but the state has refused to reunite mother and daughter, Caruso said.

"There is a back-story to this case that will blow everybody's mind," Caruso predicted.

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