Karen Pena charged with child abuse after van driver runs over toddler in parking lot

The driver of a van that struck and killed 22-month-old Laniece Fletcher isn't being charged with a crime.

Instead, the person targeted is Karen Pena, Laniece's thirty-year-old mother, who's been arrested for child abuse resulting in death, with the focus on neglect.

The apartment complex where the accident took place is located on the 900 block of South Zeno Way in Aurora -- and residents there reportedly say kids who live there have been at loose ends since a playground was removed to make room for extra parking.

Not that allowing a child under age two to wander around such an area unsupervised is advisable -- and that's presumably what Aurora Police believe Pena did.

Pena's bond has been set at $50,000. Look below to see a larger version of her booking photo, as well as an interactive graphic of the area near the scene; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Mary Torres allegedly steals SUV with kids inside, hits & runs before crashing into house."

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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.
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