Failed to Death: Christian Wentz

4:31 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Christian Wentz
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Age: 12 mos.
Born: March 28, 2009
Died: April 17, 2010
Location: Somerset
Suspect in death: Edward Cox, father

When a doctor in nearby Delta treated Christian's burn on April 7, he also saw suspicious bruises on other parts of his body. He reported possible abuse to the Delta County Department of Health and Human Services. Somerset is in Gunnison County but is closer to Delta, so Delta was given the case.

Two social workers and a deputy interviewed Christian's mother that day. She told them that Cox was a good dad and the restraining order placed on him because of the domestic violence incident should be dropped so he could be with Christian.

Six days later, two social workers and a detective went to Cox's home to interview him. He told them Christian was burned when Cox found a tick on his own penis and went into the bathroom to try to remove it. He said Christian climbed on a wall heater while he was distracted by the tick.

The investigating team conferred outside the home and decided they believed Cox. They said he could resume contact with his son and stated in their report they had no more safety concerns for Christian. Cox called social workers a few days later to say he had concerns over how Christian's mother was caring for him.

The next day, Christian was dead of internal bleeding from a lacerated liver. The autopsy determined it was caused by blunt force trauma. He had been in Cox's care that day.

A state investigation found that social services did not violate any policies in returning Christian to his father.

There was nothing in the social service's investigation to show that anyone had looked into Cox's criminal history in Michigan. He was an ex-con with 30 run-ins with police on his rap sheet and a history of domestic violence abuse against women and children. He had three active warrants when he left Michigan to "get his life straightened out" in Colorado.

He moved to Colorado with a previous girlfriend and their daughter. That girlfriend found a burn mark on her daughter's hand several days before she left Cox and returned to Michigan.

Cox is currently serving 40 years in prison for Christian's death.


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