Mom limited to supervised visits
A Mesa County judge ruled Friday that a Palisade mother at the focus of a death investigation involving one of her toddler sons will be allowed supervised contact with her surviving boy at Children’s Hospital in Denver.
Magistrate Judge William McNulty said Heather Jensen, 24, may visit her 4-year-old son, Tyler, only when hospital staff is present.
The ruling was in line with a request by Garrett Forsgren, a staff lawyer with the Mesa County Attorney’s Office who represented the county during an emergency custody hearing.
Participating by phone conference, Heather Jensen said little other than replying “No, thanks,” when asked by the judge if she had any questions about the proceedings.
She was represented in the courtroom by Grand Junction attorney Ed Nugent, who declined comment afterward.
McNulty, who said he considered a five-page affidavit lodged by law enforcement in the case, issued an emergency order giving custody of Tyler to the Mesa County Department of Human Services. The order will remain in place through Dec. 11. Forsgren said the county is expected to file a dependency and neglect case against Heather Jensen “if he (Tyler) survives.”
A spokesman for Children’s Hospital did not provide information on Tyler’s condition, citing federal privacy laws. Robert Mathena, Tyler Jensen’s step-grandfather who sat in on Friday’s hearing, described the boy’s condition as grave.
A pair of Mesa County sheriff’s investigators also sat in on Friday’s hearing.
Tyler was flown to Children’s Hospital in critical condition after authorities responded to a 911 phone call by his mother near Powderhorn Mountain Resort.
A search warrant affidavit obtained by The Daily Sentinel said she called 911 at 6:31 p.m., reporting her youngest, 2-year-old William, was unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse.
The affidavit said at 6:50 p.m., she reported Tyler breathing but “gurgling” with every breath. William was pronounced dead on the scene when authorities arrived.
Jensen told two stories of what had transpired, telling an investigator in a second statement that she made arrangements to meet a man and got into his truck, while her children were left inside her nearby Toyota 4Runner with its engine running for about 90 minutes.
The cause and manner of William’s death have not been released.
Tyler is enrolled in preschool at Taylor Elementary School, where School District 51 is providing grief counseling for staff and students, if requested, according to Christy McGee, district spokeswoman.
An extra adult helper has been committed to Tyler’s classroom to “help keep the kids focused,” she said.