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HEATHER JENSEN: Sons, 2, 4 died after being left in vehicle



JENSEN_Heather

HEATHER JENSEN: Sons, 2, 4 died after being left in vehicle

A Palisade woman accused in the overheating deaths of her two children was released from a Florida jail Wednesday morning so she could be returned to Mesa County to face charges here.

Heather Jensen, who was booked into the Lee County Jail in Fort Myers, Fla., on Jan. 16 under her maiden name Heather Holesapple, was released at 4:30 a.m. MDT, according to jail records. She had not been booked into the Mesa County Jail as of 9 p.m.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin declined to comment on Jensen’s return to Mesa County, saying the department doesn’t comment on inmate transports for security reasons.

A judge on Jan. 16 issued a warrant for the 24-year-old woman’s arrest 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’s sons, 4-year-old Tyler and 2-year-old William, died from hyperthermia after being left inside her vehicle on Grand Mesa Nov. 27, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office. Forensic pathologist Robert Kurtzman ruled the deaths accidental but said in his autopsy report that while he couldn’t establish with certainty a “deliberate intent to kill,” the act of leaving the boys in an unattended, running vehicle constituted neglect “and is the sole cause directly responsible for the death(s).”

Authorities allege Jensen acted negligently by strapping her sons into her Toyota 4Runner and running the vehicle’s heater for roughly an hour while she had sex with a man in his vehicle near Powderhorn Mountain Resort.

The man, Colten Childers, told investigators he saw the rear door of Jensen’s sport-utility vehicle open several times while Jensen was in his truck. He said Jensen gave Tyler her cellphone to play with, then shut the doors and engaged the child safety locks, according to Jensen’s arrest affidavit.

William died at the scene, while Tyler died at Children’s Hospital in Denver on Dec. 3.

Childers, who told several different accounts of what happened Nov. 27, ultimately told investigators Jensen asked him to lie to police and wanted him to leave when deputies arrived that night, according to the affidavit.

Another man, Peter Stein-Gillette, told investigators Jensen told him she had been smoking marijuana with Childers on Nov. 27. Stein-Gillette said he was dating Jensen while her husband, who died in a car accident in Garfield County on Oct. 10, was still alive, the affidavit said.



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