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A Taylorsville man has been charged with causing the November death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old son.
Colossal Teton, 33, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with second-degree felony child-abuse homicide for the Nov. 1 death of the child, which he said occurred when he fell down the stairs of his home while high on drugs and carrying the boy, who is identified in court documents as G.M.
Teton had left the scene before police arrived, but later gave different accounts of the fall during three separate interviews with police, according to charging documents.
In the first interview, he said they fell once. In the second interview, he said he fell twice when his "bum knee" gave out. In the third interview, he said he fell twice, attributing the falls to being "loopy" on drugs. Several prescription drugs as well as THC, cocaine and alcohol were found in Teton's blood stream, charges state.
A 9-year-old boy, who witnessed the event from the kitchen, said that afterward the victim wasn't moving, charges state. A 15-year-old girl who heard the fall from another room in the house, located near 3200 West and 5000 South, said she was surprised when the 19-month-old didn't cry or react to the fall, charges state.
Assistant Utah Medical Examiner Julie Schrader who conducted an autopsy on Nov. 2, said at the time that the fall did not account for all injuries to the child.
Schrader said her preliminary opinion was that the cause of death for the baby was "lethal blunt force trauma to his head." Schrader also noted that bones in both the child's forearms were broken, and there were scrapes and scratches on the baby's face and neck.
Primary's Children's Hospital pediatrician Karen K. Hansen told police she believed the child had been a victim of physical abuse, noting there was a clear "slap mark" bruise on his left cheek. "It is my opinion that his death was most likely caused by abuse and not by a stair fall accident," she said, according to charges.
Elizabeth Stephens, the child's mother and Teton's girlfriend, told police that she was either "sleeping or outside smoking" at the time the child was injured. She said that she and Teton were the primary caregivers for the child and that the boy had never been abused by anyone in the home. She blamed the "baby's own conduct" for some of the marks, charges state.
Teton was booked Friday into the Salt Lake County Jail. His bail was set at $500,000.
The homicide count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. No court dates have been set.