The first thing that struck me about this story was the fact that the child was three years old, and the second thing was the fact that this is not the first time the child was left alone. When I was three years old, my mom wouldn’t let me out of her sight. And if she had to go out for whatever reason she had a babysitter or my grandmother watch me.
Megan McKeon, from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, does things differently. She left her young child, Austin Davis, home alone while she went to work, and didn’t come back till the next day. As a result, she has been charged with child abuse. Basically, Austin was all by himself for 20 hours, and when the mother came back home she found him lying face up with his eyes open. He was showing no signs of life.
Investigators are saying that her place of residence, which is “described as a cabin at a local campground,” had “human waste and partially eaten food tossed around.”
McKeon, 24, attempted to “plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts in court” yesterday, but the District Attorney” had dropped those, and she is instead being charged with “child abuse resulting in death.” It’s a felony that has a much longer sentence.
According to police, she had left to go to her job at a supermarket on March 26, and didn’t come back till the following morning. She thought it was okay to do that because she left juice, food, and a movie for her son to watch. Get this…she also told detectives that she had left him home alone a few times before. As if this child was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Hello! He’s three!
Instead of coming home after her shift at work, she spent the night at the place of an unnamed boyfriend’s house.
Mckeon’s grandmother, Charity O’Konski was not happy when the prosecutors had decided to drop the original charges against McKeon. CBS4 reports that the grandmother shouted, “She killed a baby.”
Outside of court, the grandmother says that she would’ve loved to have cared for Austin had she known what was happening.
“All she had to do was call me. There’s no if, ands or buts to what happened, it’s her fault no matter what happened. She is accountable for that baby,” O’Konski said.
She added, “Nothing is ever going to be enough, because he will never come back to us but she took his life away and the only way to take her life away is to let her sit behind those bars and let her think about what she said.”
The District Attorney wants to see the official cause of death for the child. Investigators and the coroner are waiting on toxicology reports, which will take at least a couple of weeks.
A doctor who had tried to save Austin’s life is fearful that he might have ingested prescription medication or other various sentences. The mother’s bond was set at $250,000.
And what about the boy’s dad? Well, Tyler Davis, 22, had been in prison at the time of Austin’s death. He had been “arrested for not registering as a sex offender after allegedly going up to multiple underage teen girls and offering them money for sex.”
I definitely had some questions about this story, and I had the honor of talking with Joseph DiBenedetto, who’s a prominent criminal defense attorney.
MC: It said that a guilty plea to the original charges would’ve only carried a maximum sentence of 42 months, but the original charges were dropped. Why were the original charges dropped?
JD: It’s a clear indication that the prosecutor at this point does not believe that 42 months is a sufficient sentence for this person. They’re of the opinion that based on the facts and circumstances as they know them, 42 months is too short of a sentence. They’re looking to dismiss these misdemeanor charges so that they can proceed at a felony level. They’re going to indict her and felony charges that they will charge her with, which is felony child abuse resulting in death, will certainly carry a much more stiffer sentence.
MC: What do you think that sentence could be in Colorado?
JD: Felony Child Abuse Resulting In Death is a Class 2 Felony which gives a range of 8-24 years.
MC: What would it be in New York?
JD: You’re clearly looking at more than the 3.5 years that she was being offered at that point. How much more than that will depend on the actual cause of death. To me that’s a key aspect to this case. That will affect the degree of punishment. If this child happened to die of natural causes I think it sort of from a punishment level lessens her exposure. However, if it shows that he ingested some sort of controlled substance or something along those lines it’s safe to assume that a sentence way above the 3.5 years will be offered on this case.
MC: How do you think she was able to get away with leaving him alone so many times? Why didn’t anyone do anything about this or catch her?
JD: It’s clear that she failed her son and there’s some sort of breakdown in communication. It’s common sense that if somebody lives alone with their child and also is employed, it means one of two things. The child is either home alone or somebody is watching the child. For it to happen this many times there’s a clear breakdown in communication. It’s absolutely tragic.
MC: Do you think the fact that the father of the boy is in prison will have an impact on the case in some shape or form? In terms of giving her a bigger sentence.
JD: Is there any prejudice that attaches to that? Possibly. Assuming that they were both still together it sort of shows that it’s a household that was clearly out of control. It’s a factor that should not be considered but it’s one that you can’t ignore.
MC: Do you think she will get parole in this case?
JD: Anything’s possible, but again a lot will depend on what the cause of death is. If the facts and circumstances surrounding the death are egregious, chances of her being released on parole short of doing her entire sentence are slim and none.