A mother accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of her 3-year-old son told her ex-boyfriend that her son "was with God," according to an arrest affidavit obtained by 7NEWS.
Juanita Kinzie was contacted by Denver police on Sunday while they were investigating a disturbance call, the affidavit stated. Paramedics were also called and said Kinzie appeared to be high on methamphetamine when they examined her.
While examining her, paramedics said Kinzie told them her son, Caleb Pacheco, was dead.
Investigators in Logan County had opened an investigation into the toddler's disappearance a week ago, after being contacted by family members. The investigators talked to Kinzie's ex-boyfriend, identified as 24-year-old Joshua Dean Briggs, who was in jail on a number of charges including burglary and assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury.
Briggs told investigators he helped Kinzie move out of the mobile home where they lived last summer and that he smelled a bad odor in the house, the affidavit stated.
Briggs said he talked to Kinzie on the phone later that summer and she told him repeatedly that she had made a mistake and that her son was "gone," according to the affidavit. When he asked what Kinzie meant by her comment, she said her son was "with God."
The ex-boyfriend told investigators to check out the mobile home and that's when they discovered the skeletal remains under the structure, according Lt. Joe McBride, of the Logan County Sheriff's Office.
Aunt: System Failed 3-Year-Old Boy
Also Tuesday, Caleb Pacheco's aunt, Yolanda Kinzie-Graber, said the system failed him. She told 7NEWS she begged social services to check on her nephew's welfare at least a dozen times last year.
"To look back at every time I went to social services, every time I was asking questions -- and the biggest thing is the fact that they made me give him back," said Kinzie-Graber, who said she had temporary custody of Caleb from November 2010 to January 2011, the last time she saw the boy alive.
"When Juanita got him back, she was probably drunk or really high," said Kinzie-Graber.
Regarding how Pacheco may have died, Kinzie-Graber said, "I don't know if it was discipline or if she shook him."
Kinzie-Graber said all the warning signs were in place months ago, and the little boy who loved trains would still be here had social services done their job.
"Quit with stupid things like, 'Well, do you have an address? You have to have an address. We can't help you unless you have an address,'" she said.
Logan County Coroner Dave Tennant told 7NEWS on Tuesday afternoon that an autopsy of the child's remains did not reveal a cause of death.
Tennant said authorities are awaiting several tests, including toxicology, X-rays and DNA results as they try to positively identify the remains and determine a cause of death.
Kinzie was being held for investigation of first-degree murder on Tuesday.
Relatives of Kinzie said they have been looking for Pacheco for about a year. An uncle, Cogee Fields, said family members last saw the boy alive in January 2011.
Yolanda Kinzie-Graber, Pacheco's aunt, said she contacted social services 10 to 12 times over the last year trying to find out how the 3-and-a-half-year-old boy was doing.
She said they were told that they couldn't perform a welfare check because they didn't know Juanita Kinzie's whereabouts.
Family members said Kinzie has a drug problem and moved around a lot to avoid contact with social services.
Sean York, the father of one of Calebs sisters, told 7NEWS that family members are angry about a breakdown in the system.
Who could sit there and let a little kid like that be missing for a whole year without doing (expletive?) York asked.
Social Services Asked To Conduct Child Fatality Review
The CALL7 investigators confirmed that the state is launching what's called a child fatality review.
Logan County has 45 days to provide its records regarding Caleb Pacheco.
CALL7 discovered that there's a long history of calls to Social Services about Caleb's well-being.
CALL 7 Investigators learned that prior to the discovery of the boy's body in Sterling on Sunday, authorities in Douglas County also searched a townhouse last Friday night looking for his remains.
The owner of that Douglas County home, a foster parent who cared for Caleb while his mother spent time in county jail in 2010, said officers went from attic to crawl space and questioned her family. Police were clearly backtracking Kinzie's movements trying to find out what she might have done with Caleb.
Our investigation has found that from 2008 through this month there have been at least nine different calls or complaints to both Douglas County Social Services and Logan County Social Services concerning Caleb's health and safety.
In late 2008 there was a call to Logan County Human Services and sources say it was responded to within 72 hours.
In 2010, Kinzie apparently moved to Douglas County where foster parents cared for Caleb while she was taken to jail after a traffic stop. In 2010 there were two calls to Douglas county authorities who responded immediately to concerns.
By late 2010, Kinzie had taken Caleb back to Logan County, where there were at least three more calls to the county human services department through 2011.
Finally, last week authorities received more calls of concern that Caleb hadn't been seen, maybe for months.
Even with all the calls to social services, Caleb was never permanently removed from his mother, who is now charged with murder.
The former foster mother in Douglas County told 7NEWS Kinzie called her around March of last year. Kinzie said she was in Sterling and asked for money. The foster mother said she immediately asked about Caleb. She said Kinzie told her the child was "really sick" and that she had left him with family.
The two talked again the next day, but when Kinzie found out the foster mother would not give her money, she never contacted her again.
Human Services officials called the boys death tragic, and said they couldnt comment beyond that.
A gag order has been issued in the case.
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