Jensen mother waives extradition, held without bond

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) – Heather Jensen, the mother accused in the death of her two sons at Powderhorn, could be back in Mesa County before long.

Thursday morning, she signed a waiver of extradition in the Lee County court in Florida, which means she has decided to voluntarily return to Mesa County. The judge also ordered that she be held without bond.

Heather, 24, was arrested Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla., after her sons -- two-year-old William and four-year-old Tyler -- died of hyperthermia in an incident at Powderhorn Mountain on Nov. 27, 2012. She has been charged with two felony counts of child abuse resulting in death, two felony counts of criminally negligent homicide, and one count of false reporting to authorities.

A Mesa County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit reveals that Heather left her children unattended in her SUV to have sex in a truck parked nearby.

The afternoon of Nov. 27, Heather drove her red 1995 Toyota 4-Runner with her boys to Powderhorn to meet with Collbran resident Colten Childers. At 4 p.m., Heather parked next to Childers’ truck, turned off her vehicle and stood with Childers outside, talking for about an hour with her boys still in the 4-Runner.

Childers told investigators that Heather started the 4-Runner at 5:15 p.m. to warm it up for the kids. She then joined Childers in his truck, where they talked until Childers noticed one of the 4-Runner’s doors opening and closing around 5:40 p.m. At that point, the boys had been in the heated SUV for 25 minutes.

Again, Heather went to 4-Runner. Childers said she gave her cell phone to Tyler to play with and turned on the SUV’s child lock system to prevent him from opening the door again.

When she returned to the truck, Childers and Heather went to the back seat to have sex, leaving her children unattended for about 40 minutes, the affidavit says.

Around 6:20 p.m., Heather drove away with her sons still in their car seats. A few minutes later, Childers followed. But as he drove down Highway 65, he saw Heather pull over on the side of the road and take Tyler out of the vehicle.

Childers went to the other side of the 4-Runner to check on William. He saw the boy was not breathing, “with some yellow discharge coming from William’s nose, which was down on his cheek and on his clothes,” according to the affidavit.

Heather called 911 at 6:29 p.m., and she told Dispatch that Tyler was making a gurgling sound with every breath.

Plateau Valley Fire emergency crews arrived to try to revive William and Tyler. William was pronounced dead at the scene, but Tyler was flown to St. Mary’s Hospital on Careflight. He was later transferred to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, where he died on Dec. 3.

The Mesa County Coroner ruled the boys’ cause of death as hyperthermia.

“Despite the likely unrecognized risk of hyperthermia in this case, the deliberate and reckless act of leaving the decedent and his brother (Tyler and William) in an unattended running motor vehicle constitutes neglect and is the sole cause directly responsible for the death of this decedent and his sibling,” reported coroner Dr. Rob Kurtzman.

However, Kurtzman said he could not prove there was a deliberate intent to kill the boys, so their manner of death was classified as an accident.

The affidavit says that Heather gave several different stories to investigators. First, she said she had left them in the vehicle for just 10 minutes to smoke a cigarette and talk to a friend who happened to drive by.

Then, she admitted to meeting with Childers to have an affair. She said she had left her sons the 4-Runner for about 90 minutes.

In all, Mesa County Sheriff’s investigators estimate that the boys were left in the vehicle for approximately 65 minutes with the heater running. They ran tests on Heather’s 4-Runner to check the conditions the boys must have been in. They found with the heat on the highest setting and all the windows rolled up, the temperature in the SUV went from about 48 degrees to 125-132 degrees in 30 minutes. After an hour, it was between 130 and 136 degrees.

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