Jensen toddlers’ deaths on mesa still a mystery

William, 2, and Tyler, 4, the two sons of Heather Jensen of Palisade, are shown in the back seat of a vehicle.

At the close of 2012, it’s still a mystery what exactly led to the deaths of 2-year-old William Jensen and his brother, 4-year-old Tyler.

According to court records, the boys’ 24-year-old mother, Heather Jensen of Palisade, told Mesa County sheriff’s deputies she left her sons in her Toyota 4Runner parked near Powderhorn Mountain Resort for approximately 90 minutes the night of Nov. 27 while she met a male friend. Jensen told deputies she returned to the SUV and was driving when she noticed her elder son making “gurgling noises.” She pulled over, discovered William was not breathing and called 911.

William was pronounced dead at the scene. Tyler was flown to Children’s Hospital in Aurora. He was removed from life support after six days and died the night of Dec. 3.

The boys’ deaths came weeks after their father, 26-year-old Eric Jensen, died Oct. 10 in a car crash in Garfield County. Mesa County District Judge Thomas Deister granted on Dec. 21 a 14-day extension of an injunction requested by Eric Jensen’s mother and stepfather, Diane and Robert Mathena, to prevent the boys’ bodies from being cremated.

The Mathenas want to have the boys buried next to their father. Robert Mathena said Heather Jensen wants to have her sons cremated. She has not responded to media calls.

Mathena said a doctor told family members that blood tests on Tyler showed he likely did not die of carbon monoxide poisoning, information confirmed by court records. The cause and manner of death for both boys have not been released.

Tyler and William’s deaths inspired a candlelight vigil the night of Dec. 7 at Riverbend Park as well as a vigil Dec. 6 in Littleton. Donations for their burial and expenses are being accepted in jars in businesses around the community and through US Bank in the Tyler William Jensen Fund. Two tribute pages have popped up on Facebook.

“Merry Christmas little angels,” one person posted on one of the pages Christmas Eve. “I miss you ringing my doorbell. I know you are safe in the hands of God. We do miss you down here.”


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