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Failed to Death: Aldrich Leathers

9:02 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Aldrich Leathers
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Age: 9 mos.
Born: Nov 27, 2010
Died: Sept 20, 2011
Location: Denver
Suspect in death: Muriel Keer, mother 

Police believe the 10-month-old's mom, Muriel Keer, left him in the bathtub as it filled with water while she logged on to a computer in the kitchen to check Facebook last Sept. 20. By the time someone else went into the bathroom, the tub was overflowing, according to police records.

Keer was arrested two weeks before Aldrich was born, and while she denied using methamphetamine, she admitted to cooking and selling the drug. She was still in custody when she gave birth to the little boy on Nov. 27, 2010. He was placed in foster care immediately after he was born.

She pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in October 2010 and was placed on probation, according to court records.

In January 2011, Aldrich was returned to his mother who was ordered to complete parenting classes and substance abuse treatment, according to a state and county review of Aldrich's death. The next month, the Denver Department of Human Services received a report that Keer was repeatedly leaving Aldrich alone for up to 30 minutes while she went outside to smoke cigarettes.

The report was passed along to a caseworker, but it was not immediately investigated. The person who called human services was told to call police the next time the baby was left alone.

Caseworkers received a second report that day. A mandatory reporter claimed that three days earlier, Keer arrived to one of her substance abuse classes intoxicated. She also said she no longer wanted her baby because he "takes up too much of her time and always cries."

Still, Aldrich's case was closed in June 2011, after caseworkers felt Keer successfully finished her treatment plan.

Less than a month later, a mandated reporter said that Keer's home was filthy. Caseworkers called police to check the home. Officers said it was cluttered, but there was plenty of food.

Caseworkers never investigated the report.

Aldrich was left with his mother.

Two months later, he was found floating face down in a bathtub on Sept. 20, 2011.

Police noticed red marks on Aldrich's backside, but Keer, 40, said they resulted from diaper rash, not abuse. She described Aldrich's death as an accident.

A review of Aldrich's death listed no violations of state policy in how caseworkers handled the case. It did note that the on-going caseworker provided a "thorough" and "clear picture" of the case, but also noted that more complete notes about new referrals would have been helpful.

Keer remains in the Denver County jail on $100,000 bail.

Read the Fatality Review

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