A troubled mom’s fatal neglect

Anyone who read Paul Shockley’s article in The Daily Sentinel Thursday about the indictment of Heather Jensen for the deaths of her two young sons in November will see Jensen as a troubled young woman who apparently put her own gratification ahead of the safety of her children.

If the story presented in the grand jury indictment is accurate, Jensen is as much in need of mental-health assistance as she is guilty of criminal neglect in the deaths of William and Tyler Jensen. Prison may be the best place to guarantee she receives treatment she needs while she serves time for the unconscionable deaths of her sons.

We applaud Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger and his staff for obtaining the indictment against Jensen, even though there are serious questions about a probation system that seemingly ignored Jensen and her problems for too long.

Meanwhile, it’s not hard to understand the anger other members of William and Tyler Jensen’s family hold. They are mourning young lives, needlessly cut short due to a mother’s apparent negligence.

As the indictment outlines, Heather Jensen allegedly left the two boys in her vehicle with the motor running at Powderhorn Ski Resort Nov. 27 while she had sex with a man in another vehicle. Temperatures in Jensen’s vehicle may have reached as high as 145 degrees, according to an affidavit from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. The boys died from a condition known as hyperthermia, or overheating.

But the information accompanying the indictment also suggests there were problems for the Jensen family well before the events of Nov. 27, and before Jensen’s husband, Eric, died in an auto accident in October.

There were reports from neighbors that Heather was seen smoking marijuana in front of her children at her home in Palisade two years ago. A second report from last summer hints at potential sexual advances toward Tyler from an 11-year–old neighbor.

Additionally, there are statements indicating Heather was having an affair with one man before her husband died, and that man moved in with Jensen and her sons immediately after Eric Jensen was killed. But that man was not the same person Heather met at Powderhorn and had sex with on Nov. 27.

Then there are Jensen’s changing stories to investigators, and the report that she asked the man from the Nov. 27 encounter to lie about what occurred and to leave before sheriff’s deputies arrived.

The indictment and accompanying information point to a woman who, by all indications, was more concerned about fulfilling her desire for drugs and sex than for the welfare of her children. William and Tyler Jensen paid the ultimate price for her actions. Heather Jensen should go to prison for their deaths, and receive whatever treatment she may require while she is incarcerated.


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