Austin Police announced new charges against the mother of a Cedar Park toddler whose remains were found in a shallow grave in September.
Meagan Work, a former Leander High School student, was charged last week with felony injury to a child and injury to a child by omission in the disappearance and death of 2-year-old Colton Turner. Work was already being held in the Travis County Jail on a charge of tampering with evidence filed in September.
Work’s boyfriend, Michael Brandt Turner — who is Colton’s namesake but not his biological father — is also facing charges of injury to a child by omission. Both remain in the Travis County Jail on $750,000 bond.
A search for the toddler began with the Cedar Park Police Department, after officers received an anonymous tip advising that they check into the welfare of the boy after several photos were seen on Facebook showing cuts and bruises. Three days later, officers from several law enforcement agencies converged on a wooded area in southeast Austin where Colton’s body was later recovered.
The Austin Police Department took over the case after the remains were found, beginning an investigation into the circumstances of Colton’s death.
Work and her boyfriend maintain that the boy was injured by accident and died later after having a seizure.
Police initially arrested the pair on charges of tampering with evidence in the case, pending the investigation into the cause of death. Now, police say the positive identification of the remains and statement of one of Work’s former co-workers resulted in the new charges.
The witness told police that he saw Work shake the boy forcefully, then slam his head against the interior of the passenger door before throwing him in the back of the truck. At a press conference last Friday, investigators were asked why murder charges were not filed in the case.
Austin Police homicide division commander Mark Spangler stated that the charges filed against Work and Michael Turner carry the same penalties as murder, and that the charges are the most appropriate given the evidence that will be used to prosecute the case. Spangler did say, however, that a Grand Jury could determine homicide charges are justified.
The charges filed against the two are first degree felonies, and carry a penalty of up to 99 years in prison.