Editorial: 3-year-old’s death is tragic
April 19, 2014
Renee Campbell, newspaper representative
Noelle Leavitt Riley, newspaper representative
Sheli Steele, newspaper representative
Hal Glanville, community representative
Jobeth Haydon-Tupa, community representative
Eldon Holland, community representative
Some tragic news came out of Steamboat recently regarding the death of a 3-year-old child named Austin Davis.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, the boy died on March 27 after being left alone for about 92 hours in a cabin at Steamboat Campground by his mother Meghan McKeon, who allegedly felt like her young son could fend for himself while she went to work. It gets worse: Rather than going home to be with Austin after work, she allegedly decided to stay the night at her boyfriend's house for four nights.
The news is astounding, heartbreaking and unbelievable. What was going through this mother's mind? Why would she think it's OK to leave a young child at home alone?
In-depth information about the tragedy came out after the Steamboat Pilot & Today filed a motion requesting Judge James Garrecht unseal records related to the case and that request was granted. We'd like to congratulate and commend the Pilot for filing such a motion so that the public can get the best possible information about what happened to the innocent child.
The affidavit revealed that McKeon admitted to authorities that she had left her son alone several times in the past month. Authorities currently are waiting on toxicology tests to determine the cause of death.
The original story, written by reporter Matt Stensland, reported that McKeon told police she didn't have a babysitter and she "instead would leave him food and put on a movie for him before leaving him home alone when she went to work," according to the affidavit. She also had been leaving Austin home alone for at least a month when she went to work.
"This would be at least 20 times that (the boy) was left alone in the cabin while McKeon went to work," the affidavit states.
It bothers us that not only did she leave her son alone multiple times, but rather than going home to check on her child, she allegedly decided to go to her boyfriend's home and not return to check on her son until four days later.
When she did finally go home, the affidavit states she found her son face down and not breathing, so she took him to the campground showers and ran cold water on him to "shock" him into breathing. She then got on the bus with her son — didn't call 911 — and took him to Yampa Valley Medical Center, which also is an extremely alarming act.
McKeon needs to be held accountable for her actions.
Additionally, we're curious as to why those in Steamboat Cabins who knew McKeon was staying there didn't notice that she was leaving her young child alone multiple times for more than a month? Was everyone around her, including those who work with her and family members, oblivious to the fact that Austin was left alone?
And what about the family? Where were they? Apparently, Austin's father, Tyler Davis, was incarcerated and awaiting sentencing in Routt County Jail when his son died. He was given a personal recognizance bond by the judge and his mom and stepfather had custody of him until he later was arrested for an argument he had with his mother.
OK, so the father was in jail, but what about other family members? Did they not know what was going on? The point is that we all need to look out for each other, whether it be family, friends, co-workers or community members.
We recognize that unfortunately there are people in society who have emotional and intellectual problems and lack what it takes to care for themselves and/or their children. Perhaps that's the case with McKeon.
Regardless, people need to be held accountable for their actions, and the community and families need to watch out for one and other.
Lastly, don't leave young children unattended — not at home, not in cars, not anywhere. Period. Hopefully, others can learn from McKeon's deadly mistake.