Man faced abuse charges before son’s death

A Somerset man was charged with child abuse in the investigation of an incident 11 days before authorities allege he killed his 1-year-old son, according to state and local court records.

Edward Geavanni Cox, 29, faced charges of child abuse with negligence causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor, in addition to misdemeanor harassment related to a domestic violence call handled by the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Department on April 6.

The named victim in the case, Crystal Wentz, had an active protection order against Cox as a result, according to Gunnison County court records.

Gunnison County Undersheriff Rick Besecker on Wednesday declined to release a report on the April 6 incident, or talk in detail about its contents.

“Some of this information may be brought up in the homicide trial,” Besecker said, adding, “This type of case is a novelty for us.”

Besecker said deputies were called around 11 a.m. April 6 to a home in Somerset, and Cox was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor harassment. Besecker said the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office later added the child abuse charge against Cox.

Crystal Wentz, a Paonia resident, was identified in a death notice published by The Daily Sentinel on April 21 as the mother of slain 1-year-old Christian Michael Wentz. The notice said Cox was the boy’s father.

Christian Wentz was found dead at his father’s home April 17 from injuries suffered that same day, according to Gunnison County Coroner Frank Vader.

The coroner declined to specify the boy’s injuries but said cause of death was “obvious” in an autopsy completed several weeks ago. The death was ruled homicide after an investigation by the Gunnison and Delta county sheriff’s departments, which involved social services officials in both counties, Vader said.

The coroner said Cox is the boy’s biological father.

An arrest warrant affidavit in the case has been filed under seal.

Cox was arrested Monday and booked at Gunnison County Jail for suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.  He is being held without bond and is scheduled to return to court May 11.

According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation arrest records, Cox was arrested April 18 on suspicion of violating a protection order in Delta by the Delta County Sheriff’s Department.

Seventh Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.


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