Sentencing set for mom accused in son's death near Blanca

Carol Carpenter

SAN LUIS — Carol Carpenter, 70, Blanca, will be sentenced January 16 for negligence causing death in the starvation of her son, Corey, 27, on Oct. 22, 2015.

She was living with her disabled son in a trailer on the side of Mt. Blanca.

A tiny woman, under five feet tall, she had opted to take care of her son herself, despite some efforts to help, and eventually found herself unable to make him eat. Corey ultimately starved to death.

Reports suggested Corey had basically lost interest in life after his father died and had given himself a nickname, Tom, and became upset when he was called “Corey.” His father, Wallace “Buck” Carpenter, died March 10, 2012.

A charge of first-degree murder after deliberation was dismissed by the district attorney on November 14, as was a charge of violent crime causing death. A plea made the same day was withdrawn and Chief 12th Judicial District Judge Pattie Swift found Carpenter guilty of negligence causing death of an at-risk person, a class five felony.

The El Paso County Coroner’s Office, which usually conducts autopsies for coroners in the San Luis Valley, first ruled that the cause of death was malnutrition, but Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) agents worked with the coroner who reported that, after viewing a photo from Corey’s 2008 driver’s license alongside one when he was on the autopsy table, the manner of death was re-determined to be homicide.

Carpenter has been free on a $50,000 appearance bond and has complied with all court requests.

Corey was found motionless on the floor of the Carpenter residence on Oct. 23, 2015. He seemed to be malnourished, with his eyes sunk into his head. “He was gray in color; his skin was like plastic,” said deputies who responded to a 9-1-1 call that day.

Carol reportedly said Corey had “been down” a couple of days. The last solid food she saw him eat was a tomato.

Around the time of his death he was drinking vitamin water and taking vitamins.

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 Carpenter told investigators the weight loss wasn’t rapid and graphic, but he lost a lot of weight.

Corey was a loner, though it was noted he had been in public school and thrived there as much as he could.

Medical and genetic testing showed Corey had “fragile X” syndrome and some of Corey’s changes could be connected with his father dying, but some persons with the syndrome may be normal at an early age, and then gradually change.