| CraigDailyPress.com

Dinosaur Town Council hires new top cop, plans to end temporary agreement with Moffat County Sheriff’s Office

The western Moffat County town of Dinosaur has selected a new town marshal.

DINOSAUR — It has been some two months since the Dinosaur Town Council fired the town’s only police officer, Darren Reed, but soon there will be a new marshal in town.Dinosaur Mayor L.D. “Smitty” Smith confirmed in an interview with the Craig Press Tuesday, the council hired Larry Elarton, a former chief of police in Rangely and the town of Bethel, Alaska. Smith said they also hired a new deputy to assist Elarton.Controversy and a court case have followed Marshal Reed’s departure.In January, the Craig Press reported two of Moffat County Sheriff K.C. Hume’s deputies assisted 14th Judicial District Attorney investigators in what Hume called a criminal investigation into the Dinosaur Town Council.The Craig Press requested a search warrant affidavit that had possibly been executed on the town council, but the newspaper was denied access to the warrant, which was sealed by Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner.Donna Zulian, public information officer for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said Tuesday she was unable to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.The subject of the investigation is not yet known, but several Dinosaur residents contacted the Craig Press in January alleging financial mismanagement of increased tax monies related to Dinosaur’s legalized recreational marijuana initiative. The residents also were outraged over the firing of Reed, Dinosaur’s town marshal, and only police officer.According to financial spreadsheets, the Craig Press obtained via Colorado Open Records requests, the town is awash in legalized marijuana tax income — some $35,000 in the offseason month of January and more than $32,000 for the month of February. Some of that money is being used to increase the budget in key areas — including the general fund and law enforcement, according to councilors.In February, Smith said investigators executed a search warrant at the office of the town clerk, who was out of town.Smith said the town conducted a national search to replace its town marshal, but the city’s attorney advised the council not to speak about the firing of Dinosaur’s marshal, which may have everything to do with why there’s an active investigation.“I believe it has something to do with what the officer who was terminated said. He believes he’s been unjustly terminated. That’s his right,” Smith said.

Dinosaur Town Council Trustee David Heinrich alleged Reed wasn’t honest and was fired for disobedience.

“He went behind our back,” Heinrich said. “If you have an employee who does the opposite of what you tell him to do, that employee will suffer the consequences.”

About a month after the Craig Press’ January report, the Dinosaur Town Council took a second taxpayer-funded trip Thursday, Feb. 28, to Steamboat Springs to testify before a grand jury regarding the sealed investigation into the small town of about 300.Trustee David Heinrich on Tuesday, Feb. 26, confirmed he and at least eight others were served a second round of subpoenas by 14th Judicial District attorneys on or about Feb. 18 compelling them to appear before a grand jury.The grand jury would decide whether to charge anyone with a crime, but its proceedings are secret and sealed from public disclosure.

“It’s costing the taxpayers money,” Heinrich said of the town administration’s trips to Steamboat. “If they’d (Dinosaur residents) just come to the budget meetings, we wouldn’t even be here.”

This week, Smith said he hasn’t heard anything from the district attorney or the grand jury since testifying.“They’re doing their investigation,” Smith said. “They interviewed a lot of us, and I’ve not heard a word about it. They’ve treated us with respect.”The hiring of a new town marshal in Dinosaur means an intergovernmental agreement with Moffat County Sheriff’s Office to police the town will be coming to an end.Moffat County and Dinosaur officials said the agreement was signed on or about March 8 and consists of a flat $6,000 fee plus $50 per call for service. Smith said the agreement has served the town well.“They’ve done a great job,” Smith said of the sheriff’s office. “We’ve had people on patrol here every day.”Smith said Dinosaur’s new town marshal and his deputy will start work hopefully around May 1.“To get the both of them is a win-win,” Smith said. “It’s really great.”Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.

6-year-old boy on bike killed in Highway 9 car collision

SUMMIT COUNTY — A 6-year-old boy was killed in a car crash along Colorado Highway 9 on Tuesday evening, according to representatives with the Colorado State Patrol.

At about 6:10 p.m. the Colorado State Patrol received a call after a pickup truck collided with a young boy on a bike at milepost 93 on Highway 9, near the intersection with Swan Mountain Road and the Farmers Korner Veterinary Hospital. Trooper Josh Lewis said that the boy was transported to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival.

Lewis said that the initial investigation showed the driver of the truck, a 19-year-old man from Breckenridge, was traveling southbound along the highway and collided with the child while turning west. Lewis said CSP currently doesn’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash, and the driver hasn’t been charged or issued a citation, though the investigation is still ongoing.

Yampa River water users prepare for an uncertain future

The Yampa Valley experienced one of the best snowpack years in recent memory this winter, but as temperatures rise, water officials say snow alone will do little to rein in an unruly 19-year drought.

Colorado water agencies are preparing for drier conditions and were educating local water users about the tough decisions on the horizon at the annual Moffat State of the River address. The town-hall-style forum was held on April 2 at the Moffat County Pavilion and kicked off with a positive assessment of the 2018-19 winter.

“Snowpack is good this year and the whole state is in good shape,” Colorado River District spokesman Jim Pokrandt said.

The Yampa and White River basins boasted above-average snowpack the first week of April, according to the National Weather Service.

In spite of the impressive winter, Pokrandt said summer Yampa River conditions remain uncertain.

“The number one villain is soil moisture,” he said.

After nearly two decades of increasingly hot summers coupled with sporadic spring and summer rains, Pokrandt said the soil is parched and more likely to drink up snowmelt before it has the chance to hit the river.

In order for soil moisture to rebound to pre-drought days, the Yampa basin will need “two or three” consecutive years of above-average snowpack to “break the back” of the long-term drought, Pokrandt said. 

“This year’s snowpack could mitigate the short term drought if we have a good spring and monsoon season, but if we segue back to a hot dry summer then that’s putting us on bad footing for next year,” he said.

The Colorado River District wants to be the “organization that looks around the corner for trouble,” he said. 

In keeping with that mission, Andy Mueller, the new General Manager of the district, explained ways in which his organization seeks to address the Western Slopes’ unpredictable water supply.

“We can easily see, because the (Lake Mead and Lake Powell) reservoirs are so low, that we may run into a time very shortly, if we see more years like last year, where we have an absolute catastrophe on our hands, we have a (compact) call up the (Colorado) river,” Mueller said.

Lake Powell, the upper Colorado River Basin’s water “saving’s account” is below 37 percent full and Lake Mead, the lower basin’s reserve, is a bit better at about 42 percent full, he said.

Climate change is a clear culprit, he said.

“Climate change is evident here,” he said. “Four of five of the earliest melt offs all occurred in the last five years. That’s what rising temperatures are doing.”

Over the past 30 years, Colorado’s average temperature warmed two degrees, according to figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While a two-degree increase may not seem like much, Mueller said recent studies suggest a three to four percent decline in annual runoff in Colorado for every one degree of warming. 

To avoid a historic call on the Colorado River, the seven upper and lower Colorado River Basin states —Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming — are making plans to reduce water consumption.

Colorado is currently working on a “demand management” plan: voluntary, temporary and compensated reduction of water use to increase river flows and maintain critical reserves in Lake Powell.

The Colorado River District is advocating on behalf of the Westslope to ensure future water plans don’t negatively impact the slope’s economy or way of life, Mueller said.

“I want to stress when we look at this demand management plan, if it is implemented poorly it could damage Western Colorado,” he said. “Western Slope agriculture cannot be the sole sacrifice zone.”

One way or another Colorado’s water usage will be restricted in the near future under a demand management plan.

“Keep in mind, if push comes to shove and there’s to be a curtailment of water, there’s one that we can plan for and those who curtail will be compensated, or if we don’t plan well, here’s what will happen: there will be a mandatory curtailment and nobody gets paid. …That’s what we’re trying to prevent, people suffering economically from a forced curtailment of water,” Pokrandt said.

Michelle Meyer, Executive Director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, one of the event’s sponsors, hopes more people will get interested in the state of the Yampa River.

“It (water) impacts every single person,” Meyer said. “Whether you have a water right and you’re in agriculture, it definitely impacts you, or you live in town and you drink water. It impacts every single person.”

 

Lauren Dodd is a freelance writer who has won awards for her coverage of special education in Central Texas. Contact her at Lauren.elizabeth.dodd@gmail.com or LaurenEDodd on Twitter.

Craig man pepper-sprayed in face, jailed on multiple charges

A Craig man is accused of a watery-eyed run-in with his ex-wife last week after she told police she found him hiding in a family member’s basement.

According to jail records, Clinton David Ginther, 36, was arrested April 2 on charges of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, violation of bail bonds, violation of bail bond conditions, violation of a restraining order, and domestic violence.

According to an arrest affidavit report by Craig Police Department Sgt. Marvin Cameron, officers responded to a residence in Craig for a disturbance call wherein a male was not supposed to be in a residence.

“I immediately recognized the address as being Clinton and (victim’s) Ginther’s residence,” the affidavit says. “I am familiar with Clinton and (victim) Ginther from previous law enforcement contacts. I know that Clinton and (victim) have been involved in multiple domestic violence disputes and restraining orders are normally in place.”

The affidavit says police were advised Ginther had slipped into an alley and left the area, but Craig police soon caught up with him on the 800 block of Tucker Street. It was then police said they noticed Ginther’s eyes were closed and he needed to be decontaminated in an ambulance due to him having been sprayed in the face with some sort of self-defense spray.

“Through my training as a police officer, I have personally been “OC” (pepper sprayed) and know that it is very difficult to keep your eyes open,” the affidavit says.

Police said they then went back to interview the alleged victim. According to the affidavit, she told police she filed for divorce from Ginther, who had been out of the Moffat County jail a few days at that time. She said she has been staying at a family member’s home and came to do some chores. The affidavit says when she entered the basement to do laundry, “she heard something or someone moving around.”

After grabbing her cell phone to use its built-in flashlight, the victim said she saw it.

“In the northwest room of the basement, (victim) saw the futon sofa was slightly elevated indicating to her that someone or something was under the futon,” the affidavit says. “(Victim) found Clinton hiding under the futon bed.”

Perhaps knowing the jig was up, the affidavit says Ginther “flipped the futon bed over,” and “placed (victim) into a side headlock and threw her to the ground.”

As Ginther stood towering over her as she laid on the ground, the affidavit says that’s when the victim pulled out her spray and let it rip.

“(Victim) began spraying Clinton with her OC spray,” the affidavit says. “Clinton went upstairs and began washing his face.”

Upon further investigation, police said they learned the landlord had evicted Ginther “and kicked all of Clinton’s associates out,” in December due to nonpayment of rent and another arrest at the residence in which Ginther allegedly barricaded himself inside.

Police cleared the home for the victim but, according to the affidavit, got some essence of eye-stinging self-defense spray themselves.

“While clearing the residence, I began to experience the effects of OC spray while in the kitchen area and in the basement,” the affidavit says. “I also saw that the futon couch in the Northwest room of the basement was on its side.”

The affidavit lists four restraining orders in place against Ginther going back to November 2017 and three conditions of bond Ginther allegedly violated.

According to Moffat County court staff, Ginther is still in custody on $20,000 in total bonds. He is set to appear before Judge Sandra Gardner’s Moffat County Court #2 at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 9.

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com. 

New Yampa Valley Bar and Grill at golf course getting ready for patrons

It was once one of the nicest eateries in Craig.

Now under a new name and new management, the Yampa Valley Bar and Grill hopes to build on that success and is opening its doors to anyone hungry for a quick bite or thirsty enough for a cold brew.

According to the restaurant’s new manager, Cherissee Smith, she hopes to have enough food and booze to welcome lunch and dinner guests starting April 13. Smith said by opening both the golf course and restaurant now,  her staff can use these next few weeks and months to prepare for an official grand opening and a 50th-anniversary celebration of the course this coming Memorial Day.

“It’s our intent to slowly have a place the community can go eat and have a beverage,” said Gary Baysinger, Yampa Valley Golf Association board member and self-proclaimed dishwasher at the restaurant.

Over the winter, board members chipped in to help redo much of the bar and eating area of the restaurant. The result is a consistent decor that compliments the restaurant’s dark green marble bar. The quintessential view of the golf course from the main dining area still greets those who might visit one of the most picturesque venues in Craig.

The board has come before the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners several times to get their liquor license sorted out.

“We’re applying for the liquor license through an LLC so we don’t have to come back every year…” said Bud Bower, treasurer of the Yampa Valley Golf Club board, to commissioners at their March 26 meeting. “This way we can control the liquor license ourselves and we don’t have to come see you every year.”

It may have taken a few applications to the state, but it seems the board has their paperwork in order — ready to serve golfers or Craig residents now that the greens have been snowblown and restaurant construction is complete.

“I think this is a good move for the golf course to get some stability out there,” said Commissioner Don Cook at their March 26 meeting.

For those interested in golfing at the course, the YVGA plans to have a beverage cart running all 18 holes and 42 acres of the park. The course will also likely hold a large tournament Memorial Day weekend to help celebrate the course’s 50th year — which could draw many tourists to the area.

“The golf course is a real asset to the people of Craig and this community,” Baysinger said.

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com. 

Evelyn Tileston: Thanks ‘silent fixer’

Being a senior citizen in Craig can have its benefits.  After the March 7 blizzard, my mailbox ended up on the ground. Within a few days, a friend said he would fix it as soon as the ground thawed out so that he could dig. Five days later a friend coming to visit said: “Who fixed your mailbox, it’s standing up there just like it had never been on the ground.” I have no idea who the kind soul was who fixed it as I heard no one out front making any noise as I would have expected. So, I am taking this opportunity to thank the “silent fixer” who out of the kindness of his heart did such a favor for this senior citizen. 

Evelyn Tileston

Craig

Mesa County makes 10 arrests in undercover internet sex predator operation

MESA COUNTY — A three-day operation in Mesa County has resulted in the arrest of 10 individuals for attempting to have sex with children or engage in prostitution, according to a news release from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Investigators in the large-scale, multi-jurisdictional undercover operation posted ads for sex with children on several websites, social media sites, and applications.As a result, the following people were arrested and booked into the Mesa County Detention Facility:• Aaron Kenneth Tydingco Apatang, 22, of Grand Junction for the charges of internet luring of a child (Class 4 felony), internet sexual exploitation of a child (Class 4 felony), enticement of a child (Class 4 felony) and criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child (Class 5 felony)• Steven Bruckner, 35, of Grand Junction, for the charge of soliciting for child prostitution (Class 3 felony)• Jason Gullion, 40, of Grand Junction, for the charges of two counts of criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child victim less than 15 years old with at least a four-year difference in age (Class 5 felony) and two counts of soliciting for child prostitution• Michael Duane Jones, 57, of Grand Junction, for two counts of soliciting for child prostitution; two counts of pandering a child (Class 5 felony); two counts of patronizing a prostituted child (Class 3 felony); two counts of criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child (Class 5 felony); two counts of possession of weapons by previous offenders (Class 6 felony); four counts of distribution, manufacturing, or possession with the intent to distribute between a half-ounce and half-pound of Schedule I/II drug or between a quarter-ounce or quarter-pound of meth, heroin, ketamine or cath or between 10 to 50 milligrams of FLU (Class 2 drug felony); and one count of a special circumstance of use, display, or possession on person or within reach of a deadly weapon during the offense (Class 1 drug felony)• Terry Royster, 57, of Grand Junction, for the charges of soliciting for child prostitution and criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child• Robert Louis Woodruff III, 34, of Gastonia, North Carolina, for the charges of internet luring of a child with intent of sexual contact exploitation (Class 4 felony), and criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child victim less than 15 years old with at least a four-year difference in age• Austin James Pierce, 20, was arrested on an active warrant for failure to appear. The warrant was issued related to on his recent arrest from a Mesa County Sheriff’s Office case where the victim is 14 years old. Pierce was also charged with violation of a protection order for having communication with the victim in the sex assault case.Three additional people were issued a summons to appear in court the Class 3 misdemeanor of prostitution: Dustin Kelleher, 40, of Fruita; Jennifer Smith, 49, of Clifton; and Kimberly Anderson, 40.All arrestees are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.“It’s important to know who you and your loved ones are engaging with online. Talking about the dangers of the internet should be an open dialog between parents and kids of all ages. For resources on the internet safety, visit the Resources for Parents section of our website,” stated the release.Arresting agencies included Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Junction Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, US Marshals Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.MCSO thanked local, state and federal partners for assisting in the operation and helping to protect the youth of Mesa County.

Woman popped for driving at 98 mph while carrying 30 pounds of pot

EAGLE — There are lots of great reasons not to drive 98 mph along I-70, but mostly because local law enforcement will ask you questions.

May I search your vehicle? Why are you carrying 30 pounds of pot?

Selvin McKay and Stephanie Alegria were motoring along at 98 mph, headed east on I-70 out of Glenwood Canyon when they popped up on Dep. Devan Salazar’s police radar, according to court documents.

Alegria was at the wheel of the pair’s rental car, which did not have an interlock device, a requirement for any vehicle she drives. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must exhale into the interlock device.

Alegria explained to Dep. Salazar that they were headed for Chicago to visit a friend named Chris. She could not remember the last name of Chris.

McKay explained to Salazar that they were on their way to Chicago to visit a friend named Thomas, whose last name had also slipped his mind, court documents say.

Stephanie Alegria was at the wheel when she was clocked driving 98 mph along I-70. After a quick search the car she and Selvin McKey were in was hauling 30 pounds of pot and other cannabis products.

Dep. Salazar’s suspicions arose when he spied four duffel bags in the back of their car, which led him to suspect that they might be involved in some sort of criminal activity.

Dep. Salazar asked Alegria if she and McKay might be involved in something that’s not strictly within the bounds of the law. She seemed surprised and said no.

Salazar pulled a black duffel bag out of the back of their rental car and jiggled the zipper, secured with a combination lock. It opened far enough that he spotted pot.

Because he’s trained for this sort of thing, Dep. Salazar felt and squeezed the other duffel bags and surmised that they also likely contained cannabis products.

McKay and Alegria were whisked to the Eagle County Jail so deputies could continue this conversation further and get permission to cut the combination padlocks off the duffel bags, which they received.

Among the products they found were: 30 pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana packages weighing about one pound each, 300 3.5-gram containers, 300 vape pen refills, 100 banks refills, one jar of marijuana wax, 540 rolled marijuana blunts, and 48 4-ounce bottles of THC syrup. The whole load is worth about $150,000, Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Kirwan said.

“She said she didn’t know they were traveling with any of that,” Kirwan said, who added that he did not believe it.

McKay told Dep. Salazar that Chris dropped the duffle bags at his house, and they were delivering them to Thomas in Chicago.

McKay ran into further difficulties when he missed a court date last month.

Ironically, he showed up for court the day Alegria was sentenced to 30 days in jail and probation. If she messes that up, she goes to prison for at least two years.

McKay was arrested and placed in the Eagle County Jail. He’s back in court on Monday.

Governor expected to sign gun bill, despite statewide opposition

The Democratic-controlled Colorado Legislature sent a “red flag” gun bill to the governor’s desk Monday, despite widespread protests from counties and law enforcement officials across the state, including Routt and Moffat counties.

Gov. Jared Polis has already pledged his support for the bill, which passed along party lines from the House of Representatives this week.

The bill allows family members, roommates or law enforcement to petition a court to take away someone’s guns for up to 14 days if a judge decides the person poses a risk to themselves or others.

Democratic lawmakers and supporters of the bill see it as a way to address the state’s growing suicide rate. Colorado lost 1,175 people to suicide in 2017, according to the Colorado Health Institute, which is the highest rate in state history. Guns were involved in more than half of those suicides.

Opponents, including sheriffs from Routt and Moffat counties, argue the bill encroaches on Constitutional rights, namely the Second Amendment and due process.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams went so far as to say he would rather go to jail than enforce the bill.

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins has not been as extreme in his opposition to the bill, but he echoed the concerns of many who feel that an extreme risk protection order violates Constitutional rights.

If a judge feels that a person still poses a threat after the 14-day protection order, the bill allows that judge to extend the seizure to a year. In that case, burden of proof rests on the gun owner, who must show they do not pose a risk to themselves or others.

As Wiggins pointed out, that deviates from the usual rule of law.

“Our judicial system is designed so that the burden is placed upon the government to prove guilt, not that the accused is required to prove innocence,” he said in an email when lawmakers were still debating the bill.

More than half of the counties in Colorado do not support the bill. Thirty-four counties, including Weld and Moffat, have even passed resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties,” in an attempt to skirt enforcement of the legislation.

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume has heard from several members of the public who support the resolution, and no one has confronted him opposing it.

Like many sheriffs in the state, he sees the red flag bill as an infringement of the Second Amendment. Supporting the bill, as he put it, would require him to violate the oath he took as an elected official to uphold the Constitution.

“It isn’t about guns,” Hume said. “It’s about how our country was founded.”

Craig City Council went on to declare the town a sanctuary city as well.

Sheriff Wiggins also saw a potential for law enforcement agencies to face unfunded mandates if the bill becomes law. Under the language of the legislation, agencies such as his own would bear the responsibility of taking and storing revoked firearms.

Commissioners in Weld County addressed that concern in their sanctuary resolution, saying they would not put money toward building a storage facility for weapons seized by law enforcement.

Thus far, the Board of Routt County Commissioners has not considered enacting a similar resolution.

Commissioner Doug Monger explained that, while he takes issue with the red flag bill, the board has not heard adequate opposition among county residents to justify government action.

“It wasn’t worth lying on the railroad tracks for,” he said.

Monger, a gun owner himself, has grown increasingly upset with what he sees as Democratic bulldozing at the state level, with lawmakers fast-tracking legislation against the will of many Coloradoans.

That was part of the reason he left the party last week and changed his political affiliation to Independent.

Even if Gov. Polis signs the bill into law, it is expected to face legal challenges. But Phil Weiser, the state’s attorney general, had harsh words for the sheriffs who said they wouldn’t enforce it.

“If a sheriff cannot follow the law, the sheriff cannot do his or her job,” he testified before a state Senate committee in March. “The right thing to do for a sheriff who says ‘I can’t follow the law’ is to resign.”

Commissioner Beth Melton said, without a strong outcry from her constituents, she sees no reason to take local government action against the bill.

“For us, it’s not an appropriate role to not enforce a state law,” she said. “That’s not our job.”

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

Vanessa Jenkins bonds out after negligent child abuse death charge; next court appearance later this month

A Craig woman jailed after she was charged in the death of her 3-year-old son on Christmas Eve was freed on bond Thursday.According to Moffat County court clerk staff, 26-year-old Vanessa Allison Jenkins bonded out of the Moffat County jail about 9 p.m. Thursday — some eight hours after a bond hearing before Judge Sandra Gardner, who set Jenkins’ bond at $10,000.County court clerk staff said Jenkins forfeited $1,500 in assets Thursday to a local bonding agent to secure her release.

According to arrest records, 26-year-old Vanessa Allison Jenkins, aka Vanessa Jenkins Day, was arrested Wednesday, April 3, on a charge of child abuse negligently causing death.

A 13-page redacted arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Craig Press Thursday details the circumstances surrounding the fire, in which Jenkins said she found herself waking up on the couch to her home ablaze and her child screaming as the room he was in was engulfed in flames.

Police said an autopsy later showed high concentrations of carbon monoxide in the boy’s blood, suggesting he was alive when the fire started. The affidavit says an autopsy showed the child’s cause of death was thermal burns with smoke inhalation and his manner of death was ruled as accidental.Police said Jenkins admitted her son had played with lighters in the past and set fire to a bedsheet on at least one occasion. The affidavit says the child had also possibly set a mattress on fire in the weeks before the Christmas Eve fire claimed his life.Jenkins appeared via video conference Wednesday and could be seen sobbing quietly into her hands as the charge of criminal negligence in the death of her child were read aloud.Jenkins is scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. April 23 in Judge Sandra Gardner’s Moffat County Court #2.Contact Clay Thorp 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.