Juanita Kinzie sentenced for killing son Caleb Pacheco, hiding body under trailer

Yesterday, Sterling's Juanita Kinzie was sentenced to 32 years behind bars for killing her three-year-old son, Caleb Pacheco. She'll be eligible for parole in 24 years.

The punishment was mandated by a plea agreement, but the judge in the case expressed dissatisfaction with its length given the terrible circumstances of the child's death.

As we originally reported in January, relatives of Kinzie had long considered her an unfit mother, for reasons spelled out in an arrest affidavit that identified her as a meth addict.

But while family members took care of Caleb through part of 2010, Kinzie regained custody in January 2011. That's the last time his loved ones saw him, and they claim their entreaties to Social Services to investigate his well-being resulted in no action -- hence the creation of a Wheres Caleb Facebook page.

The answer to the question posed by this page became clearer thanks to a person identified in the arrest report as a friend, but now known as Kinzie's former boyfriend, Joshua Briggs, who said she'd told him Caleb was with God.

His earthly remains were another story. In January, Kinzie was the subject of a disturbance call, and she was plenty disturbed due to what Logan County authorities suspected was meth usage. At that time, she told officers her son was dead -- a statement that led to the search of a trailer where Kinzie had lived for a short time about six months previously. Over the summer, complaints had surfaced about a foul stench emanating from the abode, and authorities soon discovered its source: the decomposing body of a three-year-old child later confirmed to be Caleb. As 9News notes, his body was wrapped in a blanket and a plastic bag.

Kinzie, whose record had been marked by domestic abuse beefs even before Caleb was born, was taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree murder. In April, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case, prompting this striking post on the Wheres Caleb page:

My mom Juanita Kinzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death of me, today Wednesday, April 18, 2012. My mom could face up to 32 years in prison, with a possibility of parole after 24 years. My family still continues to need your prayers of peace and comfort as this day has been hard for them because there are still so many questions that have yet to be answered.

Judge Michael Singer reportedly told Kinzie at the sentencing hearing that he wished she could be sent away for longer. Meanwhile, Kinzie's own statements seemed to shift blame for what happened to Caleb from herself to a sister -- an unfounded claim that added salt to a still raw wound.

Look below to see Kinzie's mug shot, the most recent 9News package and a CBS4 report from January.

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Muriel Keer allegedly on computer in different room as her baby drowned in bathtub."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts