Suspect Accused in Toddler's Death Arrested
KREX News Room
GRANTS, N.M.- The man suspected in the death of a 19-month-old toddler has been arrested.
Justin Keel, 26, was arrested Thursday night in New Mexico on a warrant. He's accused in the death of Owen Daniel Reak.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said, "We've been working really closely with the sheriff's office, not from day one, but as soon as it was referred to Mesa County from Montrose. We've been working with them on the arrest warrant and going ahead and approving arresting him for quite some time now."
Keel was the boyfriend of Owen’s mother, Amber Reak. According to an arrest affidavit issued Friday morning by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Keel was living with Amber and her son. Authorities say on April 10, an incident occurred where Reak was in the shower and Keel was alone with Owen. While in the shower, Reak heard a boom and Keel later told her Owen fell off the bed.
Heather Benjamin, spokesperson for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, said, "Based on the statements that we've received, that matches the time frame when the injuries were most likely to occur."
That day, Reak dropped her son off at her father’s house while she attended class. Her father later told her to take Owen to the hospital because he had vomited. However, doctors originally thought it was the stomach flu.
That night, the toddler was picked up by his grandmother to stay with them in Montrose for the night. The grandparents later found Owen deceased in the early morning hours.
Although officials with Mesa County Sheriff Office say they are not aware Keel fled to New Mexico, the DA's office says they will look into the matter.