Steamboat mother could face homicide charge for 3-year-old’s death
March 28, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs police think the 3-year-old boy who died Thursday had been left home alone in a dangerous environment for nearly 20 hours.
The mother, Meghan McKeon, 24, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor child abuse. Judge James Garrecht advised McKeon of her rights Friday and set bond at $50,000. The Routt County District Attorney's Office on has filed two charges of child abuse, Class 2 misdemeanors, and reckless endangerment, a Class 3 misdemeanor. The investigation is ongoing, and Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Karzen said McKeon could face a Class 1 or Class 2 felony homicide charge.
Steamboat Springs Coroner Rob Ryg on Friday identified the boy as Austin Davis.
An autopsy was performed Friday, and Detective Josh Carrell reported the medical examiner's initial findings during court.
"There is no reason this child should be deceased," Carrell said.
Toxicology tests will be done to help determine why Austin died. Carrell said those tests can take anywhere between 15 days to three months. Judge Garrecht said he hoped the lab could expedite the test.
An arrest affidavit filed in Routt County Court on Friday revealed more details about the investigation.
After the boy was brought to Yampa Valley Medical Center on Thursday, McKeon told police she had left the boy with a baby sitter at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. She then went to work, stayed the night at her boyfriend's house and returned home Thursday morning.
McKeon later told police there was no baby sitter, and she "instead would leave him food and put on a movie for him before leaving him alone when she went to work," the affidavit states. McKeon said she had been leaving the boy home alone for at least a month while she was at work, the affidavit states.
"This would be at least 20 times that (the boy) was left alone in the cabin while McKeon went to work," the affidavit states.
McKeon worked at City Market.
A doctor who tried to save the boy's life was concerned whether the boy had ingested prescription medication or other substances. Police then got permission to search the cabin McKeon was staying in at Steamboat Campground.
"The place is a mess," McKeon said, according to the affidavit. "We are potty training."
Police said the cabin smelled, and it contained partially eaten food and human waste. Among other things found were razors that were within reach of the child, and one of the razor heads was broken off.
According to the arrest affidavit, when McKeon came home Thursday morning, she found her son was not breathing and was lying face up with his eyes open and fixed on the ceiling. Police said she contacted family members and got on a bus to take the boy to YVMC. Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Jerry Stabile said family members called 911, and the emergency responders found the boy and McKeon at the Stock Bridge Transit Center.
According to the affidavit, McKeon told police that after she found her son, she called the boy's father, Tyler Davis. Davis was at Routt County Jail, where he is being held on probation revocation.
Austin lived 'a pretty good life'
Tyler Davis' mother, Charity O'Konski, and her husband, Brent O'Konski, attended Friday's court proceedings. The couple live in the Winter Park area, and Charity O'Konski said that on the day of Austin's death, she was coming to pick up Austin and care for him for a couple of weeks.
O'Konski said the Routt County Jail had taken Davis to Yampa Valley Funeral Home so he could say goodbye to Austin.
"My son loved that baby," O'Konski said.
Austin was a happy child whose favorite toy was a Tonka truck, O'Konski said. Austin liked to eat french fries and chicken nuggets and loved to watch cartoons and movies.
"He was smart and very energetic," O'Konski said.
O'Konski said she spent a lot of time with Austin, and he was like her son. She had taken Austin on trips to the Elitch Gardens Theme Park, Denver Zoo and Mexico.
"He's had a pretty good life for being 3 years old," O'Konski said.