Editorial: Child’s death is tragic
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 last weekend regarding the death of a 3-year-old boy named Austin Davis.
The boy died on March 27 after being left alone for more than 20 hours by his mother Meghan McKeon who allegedly felt like her young son could fend for himself while she was at 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.
Additionally, McKeon admitted to authorities that she had left her son alone several times in the past month. Authorities currently are waiting on the toxicology tests to determine the cause of death, according to the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s report.
The original story, written by reporter Matt Stensland, said that McKeon told police that 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 had also 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,” states the affidavit.
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 decided to go to her boyfriend’s home.
McKeon needs to be held accountable for her actions.
The news is astounding, heartbreaking and — in many cases — unbelievable. What was going through this mother’s mind? Why would she think it’s OK to leave a young child at home alone?
Unfortunately, parents around the globe have portrayed the kind of neglect and ignorance that McKeon did in the weeks leading up to Austin’s death. News reports outline irresponsible behavior of parents leaving kids unattended all the time.
A recent trial out of Grand Junction found Heather Jensen, of Palisade, guilty of child abuse resulting in the death of her 2 and 4-year-old sons. She apparently left her young children alone in her vehicle for more than 90 minutes while she smoked pot and had sex with her boyfriend in a different car. They children died of hypothermia, according to a report by the Grand Junction Sentinel.
Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison oversaw the case and sentenced Jensen to 10 years in prison on March 22.
The Grand Junction Sentinel quoted Robison saying, “One of the things we as parents are required to do is to put our children before ourselves, and if we don’t, bad things can happen. It’s up to us as parents and community members to protect them. They deserve it. They require it.”
Robison hit the nail on the head, and it’s too bad that McKeon put herself before her 3-year-old son.
Another important point is the part about parents and the community protecting children.
We’re curious as to why those in Steamboat who live around McKeon 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 Judge James Garrecht and will remain in custody of his mom and stepfather.
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.
A child is now dead.
We recognize that unfortunately there are people in society who have emotional and intellectual issues and lack the ability to adequately 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 other irresponsible parents can learn from McKeon’s deadly mistake.
Local land managers have proposed allowing the public to rent out Sarvis Cabin on the banks of the Yampa River just below Stagecoach Reservoir.