Shannon Dodson found naked in smoking apartment, allegedly admitted to drowning child
Update: Yesterday, we told you about the arrest of Shannon Dodson, for allegedly killing her five-year-old son, Jude Murray-Gomez; see our previous coverage below.
Now, the arrest affidavit in the case has been made public, and it adds disturbing new details. For instance, Dodson was found naked and wet in her apartment, where she's said to have started a fire after drowning her son -- something she reportedly admitted to authorities after she was taken into custody.
The document obtained by 7News lays out the events of Friday, November 8, like so.
At around 9:16 a.m., the affidavit says, firefighters responded to a blaze at a unit in the Hill Park Apartments in Colorado Springs. When they were unable to rouse anyone inside, a manager used a pass key to let emergency personnel inside -- but they soon discovered the door had been blocked. They had to push aside plastic bins of clothing and the dining room table in order to gain access to the space.
Once inside, they found a mattress that had been set on fire, as well as young Jude, who was wrapped in what's described as a smoldering blanket and placed on the box springs. He could not be resuscitated.
A further search of the premises revealed Dodson; she was in a closet -- nude and wet, presumably from the bathtub, which was filled with water.
A coroner's report later determined that Jude died of drowning, not anything related to the fire.
Also located was a bottle of sleeping pills, half of it empty, and several matches.
The next day, investigators were finally able to interview Dodson. At that time, police say she told them, "I killed my son."
The report below also states that Dodson didn't want to return the child to her husband, Jude Thaddeus Gomez, who'd filed for custody late last year; a hearing in the matter was expected to take place this week.
After publication of our original item, Westword received a note from grieving relatives that raises questions about the boy's father -- but it also memorializes a lovely child. The note reads in part:
"There was something about that little boy that was so special. He touched everyone's heart that ever met him even if it was just a few minutes. He was a joy to be with and loved everyone. He had a way of making the room brighten up when he walked in. He was so polite & was so kind and smart beyond toddler years."
Dodson is expected to make her first court appearance later today. Here's the 7News report, followed by our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:58 a.m. November 12: The more details we learn about the death of Jude Murray-Gomez, age five, the more horrific the story becomes. First came news that the boy's body was found in a burning apartment. That was followed by the revelation that he actually died of drowning, presumably before the blaze was lit. And now, bereaved loved ones of the child are coming forward to say they'd alerted authorities in the days before the tragedy of their fears for his safety, and concerns about his now-arrested mother, Shannon Dodson, but no action was taken until it was too late.
According to records accessed by 9News, Dodson, 42, had a history of homelessness -- and at least one guardian appointed to oversee care of young Jude cited "possible mental health issues" and suggested she undergo a psychological evaluation.
If such an analysis was undertaken, information about it has yet to surface. But we know that while custody of Gomez-Murray was officially held by his grandmother, Jillian Gomez, Dodson was allowed visitation rights three days a month.
One such get-together was supposed to end on November 3, with Dodson returning the boy to his grandma at a prearranged time. But when the hour struck, Dodson wasn't there. In response, Jillian contacted the Colorado Springs Police Department, but she tells 9News the cops said they couldn't get involved in a civil matter and referred her to the court system.
As of this writing, the CSPD hasn't commented on this claim.
Then, on Friday, November 8, authorities responded to a report of a fire at Hill Park Apartments, at 4320 East Pike Avenue in the Springs:
The Hill Park Apartments.
Inside was Jude's body, prompting the arrest of Dodson on suspicion of first-degree murder, for reasons that became clear on Sunday. That's when the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the coroner had determined the boy's cause of death was drowning.
This conclusion added to the ominous nature of Dodson's final Facebook post, on a page that now appears to have been deleted. On Friday, she reportedly wrote a single word: "Fini" -- the French word for "finished."
Dodson was already scheduled to appear in court this week. According to KRDO-TV, a hearing was on the books in order to hear arguments by the boy's father, Jude Thaddeus Gomez, who'd filed a custody petition late last year. Instead, she'll likely face formal murder charges.
In the meantime, questions linger, including one posed by Juan Gomez, Jude's uncle, in conversation with 9News. "This was preventable on so many levels," he stated before asking, "Who dropped the ball?"
Here's a larger look at a Dodson mug shot, followed by the latest 9News package on the case.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa April 2011: "Shannon Johnson gets 10 years after infant son drowned in bath as she played Facebook game."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.