Steamboat Springs In a motion filed in Routt County Court Tuesday, the Steamboat Pilot & Today asked that an arrest warrant and supporting affidavit be unsealed in the case against the 24-year-old woman charged with two counts of child abuse resulting in the death of her 3-year-old son.
Austin Davis death timeline
- March 27, 2014: Steamboat police investigating death of 3-year-old boy
- March 28, 2014: Steamboat mother could face homicide charge for 3-year-old's death
- April 2, 2014: New charge filed against Steamboat Springs mom in death of 3-year-old son
- April 3, 2014: 2 felony charges officially filed against mother
- April 8, 2014: Steamboat Pilot & Today files motion to unseal documents in McKeon case
- April 10, 2014:
Father of dead 3-year-old taken back into custody
- April 15, 2014:
Judge unseals arrest warrant for Steamboat mother whose 3-year-old died
- May 7, 2014:
Grandmother says 3-year-old died from 'extreme dehydration'
- May 7, 2014:
Pilot & Today sued after requesting autopsy report for 3-year-old boy
- May 21, 2014:
Judge orders release of autopsy report for 3-year-old Steamboat boy who police believe died of neglect
- June 9, 2014: Routt County commissioners consider paying newspaper's $10,000 legal bill
- June 10, 2014: Routt County Commissioner Steve Ivancie: 'This ends up being a very expensive lesson'
- July 15, 2014: Father of dead 3-year-old given 18-month jail sentence
- Aug. 18, 2014: Preliminary hearing canceled in McKeon case
The 13-page motion and 47 pages of supporting documents were filed by Denver attorney Chris Beall, who has been retained by the Steamboat Pilot & Today. An expedited hearing has been requested, but a hearing date had not been set as of Tuesday afternoon.
"The right of the people to receive information through the news media concerning the workings of the criminal justice system, as well as the right of the news media to gather and report that information, are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and by article II, section 10 of the Constitution of the State of Colorado," Beall wrote in the motion.
No reason has been provided to the Steamboat Pilot & Today as to why the records were sealed. In addition to the arrest warrant and accompanying affidavit, motions have also been sealed by Judge James Garrecht at the request of Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, who is representing defendant Meghan McKeon.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today also believes several search warrants related to the case have been sealed.
The day after McKeon was arrested on March 27, the Steamboat Pilot & Today obtained an arrest affidavit filed in Routt County Court. The affidavit outlined the probable cause for holding McKeon on a single charge of misdemeanor child abuse.
During McKeon's initial court appearance March 28, Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Karzen asked that the arrest affidavit be sealed. Garrecht said at the time that sealing the document was a moot point because it had already been made public.
The original charges against McKeon were dropped April 2, and before being released from custody, the District Attorney's Office filed two new Class 2 felony charges against her. Karzen said new information led to the more serious charges, but he would not elaborate. The arrest warrant and accompanying affidavit supporting the new charges were sealed and never made available to the public.
“A child who lived in our community died, and his mother has been charged with a serious felony in connection with the death. Members of the public deserve to know the information that justifies the new charges,” said Suzanne Schlicht, publisher of Steamboat Today.
McKeon remains in custody with her bond set at $250,000. She is due back in court at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Police think McKeon left her son, Austin Davis, alone for nearly 20 hours while she went to work and then spent the night at a boyfriend’s house. Police also think McKeon had been leaving Austin at home alone for more than a month. Toxicology tests to help determine a cause of death are pending.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland