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Girl’s Stepfather Arrested Following Custody Hearing

Sun., Oct. 5, 1997

The stepfather of a little girl whose mother was killed last week in an accident has been arrested in connection with a Washington burglary as state officials consider who should get permanent custody.

Allen Tabert was arrested Friday outside of a Multnomah County courtroom where the state gained temporary custody of 7-year-old Diana Valdez.

Diana and her mother, Corrine Tabert, were hit by a Pony Express delivery van Tuesday on the way to school. The driver told police the accident occurred when he began choking on a soft drink.

Corrine Tabert died at the scene. Valdez remains in serious condition at OHSU Hospital.

The state was given custody of Valdez for three days while social workers consider who should get custody. Another hearing was scheduled for Monday.

Diana’s father, Jason Smith of Vancouver, Wash., has a criminal record and had told caseworkers that he has “no psychological relationship” with the child. He hasn’t seen her in four years.

Her grandfather, Harold Dean Smith, has a criminal history dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, the state Office for Services to Children and Families said.

Allen Tabert was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to complete payment of fines and restitution on a burglary charge, said his sister, Cherri Boltz of Vancouver, Wash.

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