Child Killers: Cases in Mesa County
The Daily Sentinel compiled information on the offenders in fatal child-abuse cases in Mesa County for the past decade. Here you will find an update on where these convicted child abusers are today, and a brief synopsis of their cases. All of their victims’ names are on the memorial dedicated to children who have died at a young age at the old Mesa County Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave. There are an additional two names on the memorial who are children who were not victims of abuse.
Sarah Beaudoin, 36
Currently at: Denver Women’s Correctional Facility
Next parole hearing: January 2028Victim: Keaton Robert Anderson, age 2
Beaudoin was 26 years old when she was sentenced to 50 years in prison in a plea deal for shaking and beating her boyfriend’s two-year-old son to death. She later tried to get a trial, claiming she had ineffective counsel, that she had signed the plea deal under duress and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her attempt was rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Charles McEachern, 41
Currently at: Crowley County Correctional Facility
Next parole hearing: April 2021
Victim: Miranda Baca, age 3
McEachern killed his girlfriend’s daughter when she was at work, and initially pleaded not guilty to the crime, though later accepted a plea deal. The week before he was sentenced in Mesa County District Court, McEachern said he thought a pillow fight caused her death and that she fell off a bed onto her head. Miranda’s injuries included massive cerebral hemorrhaging and bruising, and she died a day after being taken to the hospital. Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn sentenced McEachern to the maximum sentence allowed in his plea deal – 32 years
Allen Lee Grabe, 59
Currently at: Sterling Correctional Facility
Victim: Jacob Grabe, age 13
Next parole hearing: No possibility of parole
Allen Lee Grabe shot his son nine times at their Pear Park home. Jacob, an eighth-grader, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. According to arrest records, Grabe told his wife he had to kill their son because she was “ruining him.”
Grabe went to trial after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, but was found guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
Grabe’s attempts to appeal the conviction were rejected by the Court of Appeals in 2014. He is serving life in prison with no parole.
Dartanin Mitchell, 38
Currently at: Limon Correctional Facility
Victim: Lucius Mitchell, 7 weeks old
Next parole hearing: September 2056
Dartanin Mitchell was convicted of a complicated host of crimes and was already in prison serving a 39-year sentence for other convictions when he was sentenced in the death of his 7-week-old son. A jury found him guilty of child abuse resulting in death and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Testimony during his trial indicated the child suffered as many as 26 fractures at various stages of healing by the time he died.
Mitchell, a former parenting mentor employed through a Hilltop Community Resources Program, had been involved in burglary and armed robbery cases prior to this conviction. He was sentenced to 48 years in prison for his son’s death.
Cheyenne Corbett, 27
Victim: Kylie Corbett, newborn
Currently at: On parole
Corbett was sentenced to 16 years in prison for killing her newborn daughter, served six years of that sentence and was paroled in 2013. Corbett was 17 years old when she secretly gave birth to the baby girl, and wrapped her in a towel and put her in an entertainment center.
This was after Colorado’s Safe Haven Law was adopted in 2000, which allows babies up to 72 hours old to be left safely with a hospital worker or firefighter and not face criminal proceedings.
Morgan Hite, 31
Victim: Gabriel Hite, newborn
Currently at: Denver Women’s Correctional Facility
Next parole hearing: November 2016
Hite was 22-years-old when she was visiting her parents in Grand Junction in February 2008. She lied about being pregnant, gave birth in a neighbor’s bathtub, didn’t tell anyone about the baby, and her parents found the remains of Gabriel more than two months later, hidden in a tote bag in the back of a closet. Hite was extradited from her home in Wasilla, Alaska, and pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death in a plea agreement.
Hite already had a four-year-old daughter when she killed her newborn baby, who was born alive, according to coroner’s reports. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009.
Colorado’s Safe Haven Law had been in effect for eight years when Hite’s baby died. According to coloradosafehaven.org, 35 babies have been safely relinquished since the law was adopted.
Sydney White, 22
Victim: Angel Place, 11 months
Currently at: La Vista Correctional Facility
Next parole hearing: August 2029
Sydney White had two young children of her own when she and her husband, Randy, told DHS caseworkers they were interested in having his sister’s child live with them. The baby had been removed from the home and was living with a foster family who wanted to adopt her, but placement with kin is prioritized over foster homes in Colorado.
Within two months, Angel Place was dead, a result of blunt-force trauma to the head. She also had multiple skull fractures that experts said was a result of being kicked in the head, and White admitted to shaking Angel until one of her other children told her to stop.
Justin Keel, 30
Currently at: Colorado State Penitentiary
Victim: Owen Reak, age 19 months
Next parole hearing: September 2028
Owen Reak was just 19-months-old when his mother’s boyfriend inflicted fatal injuries on him while she was in the shower. Law enforcement records show that Keel blamed the injuries on the dog.
An autopsy revealed massive internal bleeding had killed Owen, and that he had been punched or kicked hard enough to rupture his intestines. Though Owen was taken to the hospital, doctors didn’t recognize the injury and diagnosed him with flu-like symptoms. Relatives reported the injuries to child-welfare workers, but left messages that weren’t retrieved until after the child died.
Only 19 days before Owen died, a report was made to county child-welfare workers that he had a suspicious broken leg that allegedly came from getting his foot stuck in a high chair. Owen’s mother lied and said a babysitter was watching her son, not Keel.
Keel received a 36-year prison sentence in a plea agreement.
Brandon Moore, 31
Victim: Logan Acord, 23 months
Currently at: Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility
Next parole hearing: February 2037
Brandon Moore was 21 years old when he was arrested for beating his stepson, Logan, to death. Moore said the boy fell in the bathtub, but the coroner found he died as a result of multiple blunt-force injuries. A search warrant revealed that the boy had such severe retinal hemorrhaging that the bleeding could be seen without special medical equipment.
Moore was originally sentenced to life in prison without parole, after being convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. However, the Colorado Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in 2012 after finding that the district judge gave the jury an unconstitutional instruction before jurors returned a guilty verdict. Moore agreed to a plea deal, which resulted in a prison sentence of 63 years.
Heather Jensen, 28
Victims: William, age 2, and Tyler, age 4
Currently at: Correctional Alternative Placement Services in Craig
Next parole hearing: February 2017.
A jury found Heather Jensen guilty on two felony counts of child abuse resulting in death in 2014, after her two sons died from overheating in her car on the Grand Mesa.
Two-year-old William died at the scene from hyperthermia, after she left the children bundled in winter clothes, strapped into their car seats, with the heater running in her SUV. Four-year-old Tyler died days later after being taken off life support. Jensen had left the children to smoke marijuana and have sex with a man she was meeting in a nearby vehicle.
She was also found guilty of false reporting, for not telling investigators the truth about how long the boys had been in the car before she discovered that William wasn’t breathing.
Jensen was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 2014, though the judge could have imposed a sentence from eight to 64 years in prison.
Jensen was recently released from prison to a community corrections program in Craig, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.