Former Texas minister Walker Railey says he left Dallas last month to build a new life away from the despair that has haunted him since the near-fatal attack on his wife last April.

"I am not running away from my kids," he said. "Any parent wants, among other things, a stable, loving and, in my case, Christian environment for their children to be reared in."

Railey moved from Dallas on Thanksgiving weekend and headed to California. He left behind two small children, a comatose wife and many unanswered questions.

Margaret Railey is in a nursing home in Tyler and her mother has been appointed her guardian. The Railey children are in temporary custody of close friends of the Raileys.

Seven years ago, Railey was appointed senior minister of the First United Methodist Church. He was a sought-after speaker, president of ecumenical organizations and host preacher on two television programs.

Then on April 22, Railey told police, he returned home to find his 39-year-old wife choked nearly to death in their garage.

After a suicide attempt, Railey refused to talk with authorities about what police called discrepancies in his statements. No one has been charged in the attack.

Railey, who was placed on leave of absence from his pastorate, surrendered his ministerial credentials and sold his home. He received his last paycheck from the church in August.