Age: 2 yrs.
Born: July 12, 2005
Died: Jan 30, 2008
Location: Delta County
Suspect in death: Michael Bridgeo, father
There was a space heater in the bedroom where Stonie was amusing himself, and it caught fire. Stonie burned to death. Investigators said Stonie's parents had refused before the fire to let a worker hired by their landlord into the home to fix faulty wiring. Stonie's mother, Jacklyn Bridgeo, disputes that and said she is planning to sue the landlord.
Law enforcement authorities determined Stonie's death was accidental and neither of Stonie's parents was charged. A state Child Fatality Review Team determined Stonie died due to parental neglect and lack of supervision.
The Bridgeos had a troubled history with the Mesa County Department of Human Services when they lived in Clifton before moving to the home in Delta County. Less than a year before Stonie died, patrol officers found three children wandering and playing in a busy street. They were three of Stonie's four siblings and half siblings. The children were taken into protective custody and placed in a foster home for four days.
The children were returned home after the parents developed a safety plan with social workers. Jacklyn Bridgeo was cited for child neglect.
A day after the children were returned to the home, social workers were contacted again because the Bridgeos' 4-year-old was left at a bus stop. The social workers determined it was due to parental"miscommunication." Less than a month later, the child-protection case with the Bridgeos was closed after social workers determined the children were being cared for and supervised.
There had been three previous reports of concerns for the children's safety four years prior to these incidents.
The Mesa County Department of Human Services was criticized by the state Child Fatality Review Team for failing to ascertain the living conditions of one of the Bridgeos' children and failing to even account for another child. The department was also cited for a caseworker's failure to review the written material from a previous incident after the children were found wandering in the street. The department's safety plan was also done incorrectly.
The department responded by creating a new instructional manual for caseworkers and by putting together a team to develop better screening criteria.
Five months after Stonie's death, his parents divorced. Jacklyn Bridgeo said she is writing a book about Stonie's death. On Facebook, Jacklyn Bridgeo wrote that she sometimes goes outside and yells"I love u Stonie" to her son in heaven.
Read the Autopsy Report
Read the Fatality Review