Heather Jensen arrested in Florida

Heather Lynn Jensen’s booking photo from her April 2012 domestic violence arrest when her late husband, Eric, was the named victim. Eric Jensen died Oct. 10 in a two-car crash in Garfield County. Heather Jensen, 24, was serving probation in connection with the arrest when her sons, William, 2, and Tyler, 4, died after overheating when left alone in their mother’s Toyota 4 Runner on Grand Mesa on Nov. 27.

Heather Jensen was having sex with a man — whom she described “having an affair” with — while a witness in the case said she smoked marijuana on the night her children overheated inside her Toyota 4Runner on Grand Mesa, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Moreover, 4-year-old Tyler Jensen, strapped in his carseat with the vehicle’s engine running, was able to open the rear door while authorities believe temperatures were rising to dangerous levels inside. Colten Childers, the man who met Jensen on the night of Nov. 27 near Powderhorn Resort, told investigators he could see the rear-passenger side door of Jensen’s SUV “open several times” as Heather Jensen was in his truck.

“Colten said the door opened as far as (Tyler’s) arm could reach,” the affidavit said.

He estimated the movement happened around 5:40 p.m. Jensen left the boys in the running vehicle around 5:15 p.m., he told investigators. The truck’s heater was “set to maximum heat,” but the fan was off, the affidavit said.

“When he saw the door open Colten said Heather got out of his vehicle and went to Tyler’s door,” the affidavit said.

Heather Jensen gave Tyler her cell phone to play with, then shut the doors after engaging the child safety locks, he said. Colten said she got back in his truck and they had sex in the back seat, finishing up around 6:10 p.m.

“When they finished they both got dressed and got out of his truck,” the affidavit said. “Colten said he smoked a cigarette while she went around his vehicle to urinate. Colten said when she finished she said she had to get going because she needed to pick up a prescription. Colten said they hugged and Heather got back into her vehicle, guessing it was around 6:20 p.m. at this point.”

The affidavit continues, “I asked if between 5:45 p.m. and 6:20 p.m., Heather ever left his vehicle to check on the boys. Colten said no.”

Heather Jensen phoned 911 at 6:29 p.m.

Jensen’s sons, William, 2, and Tyler, 4, died from hyperthermia, a condition when body temperature rises to dangerous levels, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office said last week. Forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Kurtzman ruled the deaths accidental. Kurtzman said the circumstances — pediatric death by overheating inside a vehicle during the wintertime — are extremely rare with just six reported cases in the United States since 1998, including the Jensen boys’ deaths.

Kurtzman wrote this in his autopsy report, while ruling accidental:

“Despite the likely unrecognized risk of hyperthermia in this case, the deliberate and reckless act of leaving the decedent brother in an unattended running motor vehicle constitutes neglect and is the sole cause directly responsible for the death(s)...” Kurtzman concluded, according to the affidavit. “Despite neglect being the direct participating factor for the death(s) .... deliberate intent to kill cannot be established with certainty.”

Jensen, 24, most recently a Palisade resident, was jailed on a Mesa County warrant on suspicion of two counts of criminally negligent homicide, two counts of child abuse resulting in death while acting with negligence, and one count of false reporting,

Jensen was taken into custody at her mother’s home in North Fort Myers, Fla. The arrest warrant, which has $150,000 bond, was issued this morning.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.


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