Starvation death case heads to trial

SAN LUIS — Carol Carpenter, 70, Blanca, faces first-degree murder charges relating to the alleged starvation death of her son, Corey.
She has been free on a $50,000 appearance bond and has a hearing scheduled at 3:30 p.m. today, Oct. 24. Trial will begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 29 and is expected to continue through Nov. 15.
Described as “fiercely independent,” Carol was living with her son, Corey, 27, in a small trailer on the side of Mt. Blanca when the young man died.
A tiny woman, under five feet tall, she chose to take care of her son herself, despite some efforts to help.
On Oct. 23, 2015, a 9-1-1 call reported Corey motionless on the floor.
Deputies responding said Corey appeared to be malnourished, with his eyes sunk into his head. “He was gray in color; his skin was like plastic.” Carol reportedly said Corey had “been down” a couple of days.
Numerous photographs were taken of the home and admitted into evidence.
Also admitted was a photo of Corey and his late father, Wallace “Buck” Carpenter, who died March 10, 2012.
Corey as a loner was a trend revealed in a lengthy preliminary hearing, though it was noted he had been in public school and thrived there as much as he could.
Toward the end, Corey wanted instant breakfast and Carol supplied it to him, but decided he needed to eat solid food, something he refused to do.
Corey weighed 57 pounds and had bones protruding from his skin when his body was stripped for an autopsy.
When healthy, he weighed 145 pounds. He was short, not much taller than his diminutive mother, but began to lose weight when he chose only to eat favorite foods. Carol reportedly told investigators the weight loss wasn’t rapid and graphic, but it was evident.
She said it was very difficult for her to get her son to eat, but when she found foods he liked, she would stock up and use them in an effort to get him to eat other foods, as well.
There was an issue on how long Corey Carpenter had been that way and Carol reportedly said he hadn’t eaten for several days.
Carol waived her Miranda Rights and agreed to provide a statement, which was at least 10 hours long.
She said she was making decisions about Corey’s care because he couldn’t. He couldn’t clean himself or prepare even basic foods.
One court-ordered home visit took place when Carol was making an effort to be appointed Corey’s guardian and conservator.
Buck Carpenter had left all of the property on the side of Mt. Blanca to Corey, who was incapable of dealing with the legal matters involved.
After a legal struggle, Carol was given those posts and was required to file an annual report to the court some five months before Corey’s death. She reported Corey was active and participating in activities with her. She said Corey didn’t need medical services, but she would call if he did.
She said the activities included grocery shopping, laundry, cooking and helping his mother clean.
Medical and genetic testing showed Corey had “fragile X” syndrome. Some persons with the syndrome may be normal at an early age, and then gradually change. A physician who examined him saw an array of symptoms showing that something was wrong, there was “some spectrum of autism and some anxiety.”
According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, fragile X is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability in males and is also a significant cause of intellectual disability in females. It affects about 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 8,000 females and occurs in all racial and ethnic groups.
According to the institute, persons with the syndrome have a particular facial appearance, characterized by a large head size, a long face, prominent forehead and chin and protruding ears.
Affected boys may have behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, hand flapping, hand biting, temper tantrums and autism.
Other behaviors in boys after they have reached puberty include poor eye contact, problems in impulse control and distractibility.
Physical problems that have been seen include eye, orthopedic, heart and skin problems, as well as the repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.

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