DENVER - A state report on the death of 3-year-old Caleb Pacheco, whose body was found under a Sterling mobile home in 2012, contains more than 100 errors and missing details about the decision his caseworkers made before his death.
An investigation by the Office of Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman released Thursday says the Colorado Department of Human Services used incorrect dates, did not include details about ongoing drug use by the child's mother, and failed to note that county caseworkers incorrectly completed risk and safety assessments before the child’s death.
"I'm concerned about the overall number of inaccuracies and the overall process that allows the state to release a report that had so many inaccuracies," Updike said. "If any good can come from the review of this death, it would be that we improve future child protection. I think the number of errors in this report raises concerns about that," Ombudsman Becky Updike told the Denver Post,
Caleb's report was the first released in a new format that Reggie Bicha, executive director of the Department of Human Services, promoted as an effort to create a more comprehensive and transparent account of child fatalities in Colorado, the newspaper said.
On Thursday, Bicha said that reviewing the report provided both the ombudsman and child welfare services guidance for how to review child fatalities.
Child fatality reviews are completed for kids who entered child welfare services two years before their death from abuse and neglect. The reviews detail previous involvement with the child welfare system, including whether caseworkers and supervisors made mistakes in protecting kids.
Caleb's mother, Juanita Kinzie, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of the 3-year-old.
Kinzie was originally contacted by Denver police in January 2012 while they were investigating a disturbance call, an arrest 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 was dead.
Investigators in Logan County had opened an investigation into the toddler's disappearance a week before, after being contacted by family members. The investigators talked to Kinzie's ex-boyfriend, identified as 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 the previous summer and that he smelled a bad odor in the house, the affidavit stated.
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.
Kinzie was originally charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded down to second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
A judge accepted the plea and sentenced Kinzie to 32 years in prison, with a possibility of parole after 24 years.