Girl Dies on Cold Walk; Dad Charged With Murder

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jrknothead
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30 Dec 2008, 1:18 pm

Girl Dies on Cold Walk; Dad Charged With Murder

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11-year-Old Likely Died of Hypothermia; Father Emotional at First Court Appearance
TWIN FALLS, Idaho December 30, 2008 (AP) The Associated Press

The father of an 11-year-old girl who died, likely of hypothermia, after trying to walk 10 miles in the snow on Christmas Day has been charged with second-degree murder and felony injury to a child.

Robert Aragon, 55, of Jerome, made an initial appearance Monday in 5th District Court, where Judge Mark Ingram appointed a public defender for him. The judge denied Aragon's request to lower his $500,000 bond. He was being held in the Blaine County Jail.

Aragon was emotional during the short hearing. He banged his head on the defendant's table as Ingram read the charges against him, The Times-News reported. After Ingram noted that second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, Aragon said "Oh my God" as he banged his head on the table one final time.

Sage Aragon and her 12-year-old brother, Bear, were with their father on Thursday when his truck got stuck in a snow drift near state Highway 75, north of Shoshone in southcentral Idaho, according to the Lincoln County sheriff's office.

The children live with Aragon in Jerome and he was taking them to visit their mother, JoLeta Jenks, in West Magic.

After the truck got caught in the snow, authorities allege Aragon let the children out to walk to their mother's house while he and another adult stayed behind to free the vehicle.


Jenks said she called Aragon because she was concerned after no one arrived at her home on Thursday. Aragon had driven back to Jerome after letting the kids out to walk to her house, Jenks said.

"They didn't even call me, telling me they were walking," she told the Times-News.

Jenks called the police and a Blaine County search and rescue team found the boy at a rest area near the highway shortly before 10 p.m. on Thursday night.

Adults in the search effort described the snow as knee-deep for them.

The boy was found wearing only long underwear, Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling said in a news release. Apparently delusional from hypothermia, the child had discarded his jacket, pants and shoes, the sheriff's office said. He was treated and released at a nearby hospital.

The rest area was about 4.5 miles from where the children started walking.

At some point the children separated and their mother said her son told her they disagreed about whether to keep going or turn back.

"(Bear) kept on telling her: 'Let's go, Sage, let's go, Sage,'" Jenks said, recalling what her son told her. "She said, 'No, I'm going back.'"

The little girl was found about 2.7 miles from where the two set out, barely visible under windblown, drifting snow when search dogs located her along a local road about 2 a.m. Friday. She was wearing a brown down coat, black shirt, pink pajama pants and tan snowboots, the sheriff's office statement said.

"I thought she was alive because they said they found her," Jenks said. "I was excited."

The girl was pronounced dead at a Ketchum hospital; preliminary autopsy results indicate she died of hypothermia.

Officials say temperatures in the area at the time the girl was missing ranged from 27 degrees above zero to minus 5.

Jenks and Aragon are not married. While she said she doesn't understand the decision Aragon is accused of making in letting the children walk to her house, Jenks added, "I don't need to sit and yell. I know he's going through hell right now."


This is a horrible tragedy, but i wouldn't call it murder... felony stupidity maybe, but I seriously doubt he even considered the possibility the kids might be in danger.



NocturnalQuilter
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30 Dec 2008, 1:27 pm

I'm no law expert- but c'mon!
I say take the guy to Wisconsin and drop him off oh, about 10 miles from the nearest town in the middle of a snow storm. Then tell him to walk. See how far he gets.



history_of_psychiatry
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30 Dec 2008, 2:07 pm

The dad should be charged with neglect maybe, but not murder. HE himself did not murder his daughter. His stupid mistake of making his kids walk in the snow for 10 miles killed his daughter. Maybe he should be charged with involuntary manslaughter.


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ShadesOfMe
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30 Dec 2008, 2:17 pm

This is NOT murder. The article states (all bold mine)

Quote:
Aragon let the children out to walk to their mother's house while he and another adult stayed behind to free the vehicle.
That would indicate that one of the children, or both asked to. It doesn't say he required, or that he forced them to. He was probably frustrated about his car and didn't really understand what would happen.



30 Dec 2008, 3:11 pm

Lesson:


Don't ever let your kids walk in the snow to head somewhere.



MizLiz
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30 Dec 2008, 3:22 pm

Gross negligence, reckless endangerment, and horrible stupidity that should result in him never seeing his other kid again (and it's times like this I wish courts could order a vasectomy), but I really don't see how that's murder. It doesn't say that he had a gun and made her walk. Now I know that when a parent says walk, a kid will walk, but I still don't see how this is murder.

He should talk to the DA and try to plead out. I have a feeling he'll lose this one.



Last edited by MizLiz on 30 Dec 2008, 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

0_equals_true
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30 Dec 2008, 4:36 pm

Yes it is not murder in any legal sense. It is negligence or neglect, possibly abuse or endangerment. The death is actually by ‘misadventure’. I'm surprised the Judge didn't throw the case out. I would call this the kangaroo court creep effect. This is the result of retribution and victim based justice rather then law of the land.

Besides 2nd degree murder doesn't mean much. In the federal system 2nd degree murder in one state can be different from another.

In the UK they have something call ‘manslaughter’, bellow murder, but even this is not murder.



0_equals_true
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30 Dec 2008, 4:52 pm

However we don’t know what was put forward. This is just what he said happened. It is possible that there were different events.



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30 Dec 2008, 5:15 pm

I was thinking about daycare a lot recently.

I've decided that the problem with the standard daycare model (as I've seen it) is that it it focuses on the safety of the child first, socialization of the child second. And there is no third, unless you include profit, and that's too often the first priority.

But my point is:

everyone wants to help the kids, nobody considers the adults.

I think kids do best with minimal adult interference. But adults need a ton of work.

FTA, he's not an evil man, just a terrible parent. He was not malicious, but this time his incompetence had grave repercussions.

Sure, this is all mealymouth bs, but in my world, my daycare, its a f*****g given that we will never allow the child to be harmed. We focus on training the parents and incorporating them back into the program. Like the military, maybe.

Good parents raise decent kids. Help the grown folk, the kids will be fine.



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30 Dec 2008, 6:27 pm

jrknothead wrote:
Girl Dies on Cold Walk; Dad Charged With Murder

Quote:
Jenks said she called Aragon because she was concerned after no one arrived at her home on Thursday. Aragon had driven back to Jerome after letting the kids out to walk to her house, Jenks said.
"They didn't even call me, telling me they were walking," she told the Times-News.


I think that the fact that the father, upon getting his truck out of the snowdrift, basically said 'hey, it's too cold and dangerous out here for me, I'm going home, to hell with the kids' instead of driving the direction the children were walking, catching up to them and having them hop into the warm truck for the rest of the trip, IS criminal. It is, IMO, far, far beyond simple stupidity. I think the "other adult" who helped him get his truck out should be facing some kind of accessory charge as well for not insisting he put his children's welfare above his own comfort, and calling the cops if the father refused.

And as far as the poster who pointed out the article said LET the kids out of the truck, one duty of a parent is to keep the kids from doing stupid, dangerous things. Kids aren't as capable of assessing risk and projecting outcomes as adults are. That's why contracts with minors are not binding in the US - cuz kids often make dumb decisions.

I agree with the poster who said drop him in Wisconsin 10 miles away from the nearest town and let HIM hike for his life. That seems appropriate to me. Maybe Minnesota. Which has the greater punishment for littering? :wink:


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ike
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30 Dec 2008, 7:46 pm

ShadesOfMe wrote:
The article states (all bold mine)
Quote:
Aragon let the children out to walk to their mother's house while he and another adult stayed behind to free the vehicle.
That would indicate that one of the children, or both asked to. It doesn't say he required, or that he forced them to. He was probably frustrated about his car and didn't really understand what would happen.


That may be true that one of them asked to walk... I personally think it's more likely that he told them to "you kids go on and walk the rest of the way, you know the house, it's just down this road". The text of the article can't really be used that literally because it's just a reporter's description of the event and because the word "let" is being used in this case to describe opening the car door, rather than telling them to walk. The phrase "let him/her/it/them out" is a figure of speech, so it likely has more to do with the fact that the phrase is often used than it does with the actual events that occurred. And then of course you can add the effects of "whisper down the lane" on top of that, knowing that news reports frequently contain inaccuracies for various reasons.


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tcorrielus
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30 Dec 2008, 8:14 pm

What's the point of letting your kids walk to someone's house that is at least 5 miles from where they live in a nasty snowstorm or extremely frigid weather????? They are not gonna arrive at that person's house quickly.

Couldn't the father calls his family or friends to help him and his children out in that mass of snow?



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30 Dec 2008, 9:59 pm

That happened not too far from where I live. It was really cold here just before Christmas. No way in heck would I make my kids walk unattended in that kind of weather...in fact, I had my oldest son (15) stay at his friend's house rather than walk home in it. I think the man really lacked common sense.



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30 Dec 2008, 10:04 pm

KaliMa wrote:
I think that the fact that the father, upon getting his truck out of the snowdrift, basically said 'hey, it's too cold and dangerous out here for me, I'm going home, to hell with the kids' instead of driving the direction the children were walking, catching up to them and having them hop into the warm truck for the rest of the trip, IS criminal. It is, IMO, far, far beyond simple stupidity. I think the "other adult" who helped him get his truck out should be facing some kind of accessory charge as well for not insisting he put his children's welfare above his own comfort, and calling the cops if the father refused.



His truck/car was stuck in the snow or broken down or something, and the Mom was supposed to pick the kids up only a short distance from where the vehicle was stuck. Except that there was some kind of miscommunication, and Mom didn't know or didn't hear that she was supposed to pick them up, and Dad didn't know that she wasn't there. Still, the kids should have stayed with dad, or one of the men should have walked with them. It sounds liek the kids, upon finding Mom not there, continued on towards her house instead of turnign around to go back to Dad right away.

There can be legal penalties for not exchanging kids on time or on the day scheduled....Dad probably had that in mind. Still, an adult should have been with those kids.



paganita
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31 Dec 2008, 2:18 am

i don't think this is murder as written but definitely negligence tragic story



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31 Dec 2008, 2:26 am

MizLiz wrote:
Gross negligence, reckless endangerment, and horrible stupidity that should result in him never seeing his other kid again (and it's times like this I wish courts could order a vasectomy), but I really don't see how that's murder. It doesn't say that he had a gun and made her walk. Now I know that when a parent says walk, a kid will walk, but I still don't see how this is murder.

He should talk to the DA and try to plead out. I have a feeling he'll lose this one.
He made a terrible mistake. But a forced Vasectomy??? That is going WAY WAY overboard.