Police arrest mother in infant son’s drowning
The mother of a 9-month-old boy who drowned in a backyard pool at a Grand Junction home earlier this year has been charged with child abuse resulting in death after police determined that she most likely was drunk before the child was found in the water.
Grace Marie Aragon, 29, was arrested on a warrant Tuesday in connection with the July death of her son, Rylan Kruckenberg. She was released Wednesday on a $10,000 personal-recognizance bond.
Rylan was found lifeless in a pool in Aragon’s home in the 2600 block of Paradise Drive on June 24. He was transported to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, where he died a week later. Aragon denied drinking any alcohol that morning until after finding her son in the pool, but a timeline laid out in a 12-page affidavit demonstrates law enforcement’s belief that she was drunk before finding the child.
Aragon appeared to have been drinking the night before; she told police she had consumed several glasses of champagne, and her 7-year-old son told police Aragon “kept falling down” the night before. The child also said he had to bring Aragon away from her phone to feed his fussy baby brother, the affidavit said.
The 7-year-old said that was the last time he saw his brother alive.
The next morning, Aragon called 911 at about 8:30 a.m. after finding Rylan in the pool under the pool cover, the affidavit said. She was difficult to understand, but could be heard saying “He’s dead, he got into the pools somehow,” and later, “I drowned him in the pool. He’s dead. He drowned,” the affidavit said. Aragon hung up on the dispatcher at one point.
Officers responding to the 911 call noticed when speaking to Aragon “an odor of an alcohol beverage on her breath and her speech was slurred and confusing.”
Aragon claimed that she had taken numerous pills along with alcohol after finding her son lifeless in the pool, and before calling 911. At some point during the interview at her home, Aragon “attempted to run from officers but then became unresponsive,” the report said. While efforts were being made to save Rylan’s life, Aragon herself was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, where she went in and out of consciousness for some time. It was late afternoon before detectives were able to fully interview her, the affidavit said.
Police said they collected several blood draws from Aragon that day, with the first one at 9:41 a.m. showing her blood alcohol content to be 0.157 — nearly twice the legal limit for drivers. Her subsequent blood draws that morning showed a decrease in blood alcohol content, which investigators wrote would not have been the case if she had been drinking alcohol after finding Rylan in the pool, the affidavit said.
Aragon also told police that a number of wine bottles found in her kitchen were for Pinterest-inspired crafts.
Aragon claimed she had been sleeping that morning with the baby on the floor of a makeshift playpen with a “barricade” of a sectional sofa and other items. She told police her 7-year-old son might have moved part of the barricade at some point, allowing Rylan to crawl out, the report said. It’s not clear how Rylan got outside to the backyard pool, since Aragon said he couldn’t yet open sliding doors leading outside. Aragon’s 7-year-old son said his mother had been outside by the pool the night before at one point, but he too didn’t know whether a door was open the next morning.
Aragon said when she found Rylan in the pool, she started CPR and called 911. After police arrived and were working over her younger son, Aragon claimed she went outside to smoke a cigarette and took numerous pills with water in an apparent effort to commit suicide, the affidavit said. Officers found several pill bottles in the trash outdoors, and a wine glass in the sink.
Aragon told police that she suffered from postpartum depression and had lost significant weight because of stress in recent months, according to the affidavit.
Aragon’s husband worked in the oil field industry and had been away for several days when Rylan was found in the pool, the affidavit said.
Aragon appeared in court Wednesday afternoon represented by Grand Junction attorney Daniel Garcia. Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite asked that Aragon follow recommendations from the Mesa County Department of Human Services in terms of treatment, but said that based on her insignificant criminal history he didn’t consider her a risk to release on a personal-recognizance bond.
“I think that alcohol monitoring would be absolutely appropriate,” Waite said.
Garcia told Mesa County Judge Gretchen Larson that in the months since Rylan’s death, Aragon has sought treatment at Mind Springs Health, has submitted to frequent alcohol monitoring tests, and has had limited contact with her 7-year-old son.
“She’s a low risk,” Garcia said.
Larson ordered that Aragon not consume any alcohol, marijuana or drugs without a prescription, and set her next court date for Oct. 17. Aragon is allowed to have contact with her 7-year-old son, as Waite didn’t ask for a restraining order.
If convicted of child abuse resulting in death, Aragon could face up to 48 years in prison, Larson said in court.