The murder of a 2-year-old whose body was discovered in a shallow, small grave is being investigated by Texas police. Officials are not commenting on who or what led them to the field in which the boy’s body was found, whether he was found inside some type of container or when they believe the boy died. Only two days before finding the body, police received photos of him which suggested that he had been abused. The mother of the boy, who has reportedly been missing since July, is in custody.
Colton Turner’s body was found on Friday in southeast Austin after an hours-long search of a field. The boy’s mother, Meagan Work, told detectives that Colton had gone missing in July. She was arrested on Wednesday and brought to the Travis County Jail in Texas for the felony charge of endangerment and abandonment without the intent to return of her little boy. An additional charge of tampering with evidence was filed on Friday night, and more are expected to result from the investigation. She has been named a person of interest in her son’s murder and has given detectives at least three conflicting accounts of what occurred to Colton.
A vigil was held in Cedar Park after Colton’s body was discovered. After only 15 invitations were sent, hundreds of people, including family, friends and strangers, gathered to remember the life of the little boy. A friend of the family described Colton as a happy little boy who “loved the girls.” A Facebook page has been set up called “Prayer for Colton” on which messages of support from across the country have been posted, with many saying they intend to light a candle for the 2-year-old. Still another page on Facebook lists details of a balloon release to occur on what would have been Colton’s third birthday on Sept. 21.
According to KXAN in Cedar Park, Texas, Work is 20 years old. A police official reports that she has in the past been investigated by DCS for abuse. Colton’s father, Pelfrey, is 22. There is no county record of he and Work ever marrying. A friend of his reported to KXAN that although Pelfrey had been awarded partial custody, he was unaware of it because he was not present in court. It is reported that he asked police for help when Colton was missing. Pelfrey attended the vigil with his family, but did not speak to assembled press. Friends also report that Pelfrey was not an active parent to Colton. Work had been dating Michael Brant Turner, 29, and according to family friends, Turner was the father figure in Colton’s life. All three – Work, Pelfrey and Turner – have criminal records.
The chief of the Austin Police Department, Art Acevedo, held a press conference in which he disparaged any human being who could place a child inside of a shallow grave, adding that “I cringe at the thought of the life he had while living.” His investigation will entail uncovering details about Colton’s family and reviewing records of the Texas Child Protective Services agency. Acevedo remarked that his wish is to give justice to a 2-year-old boy who was “discarded.”
By Jennifer Pfalz