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Two moms arrested for child abuse over a year after children died, police explain complexity of child homicide

Posted at 12:31 AM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 02:31:48-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Police arrested two mothers on charges of child abuse more than a year after their children had died.

Police said on Nov. 30, 2022 the CSPD Crimes Against Children Unit was notified of a deceased 4-year-old. CSPD said the child had been taken
to the hospital by the mother and her boyfriend after being found unresponsive at their home. The El Paso County Coroner's Office ruled the child's death as a homicide in March 2023.

On Jan. 5, 2024, the child's mother, 25-year-old Raven Rudd, was arrested for felony child abuse recklessly resulting in death.

Colorado Springs Police said the second death involved a call to the 800 block of Costilla Street for an unresponsive 14-month-old on Nov. 16, 2022. Police said despite life-saving measures at the scene, the child died at the home. The El Paso County Coroner's Office ruled the child's death as a homicide in Jan. 2023.

Police arrested 32-year-old Amber Comstock for felony child abuse and criminal negligence resulting in death on Jan. 5, 2024.

CSPD said the two unrelated incidents are examples of the complexities of child homicides, normally leading to a longer investigation than in the case of adult homicide.

“We have to make sure that we’re looking into who had care for the child, at what point, when did injuries occur, who was providing sustenance, food, water, shelter for the kid. And so we’re looking at all of those things and that can take awhile," said CSPD Special Victims Section Lieutenant Shannon Snuggs.

Lt. Snuggs said there are 10 detectives and one civilian criminal investigator that are part of the Crimes Against Children Unit, which is part of the Special Victims Section. She said the unit is notified and begins an investigation anytime there is a child under five years old who is found deceased or has serious bodily injuries.

She said child homicide cases can involve prolonged patterns of abuse and child deaths are typically not caused by a single incident like in adult homicide cases.

“Kid cases there’s so many things that it could be. It’s not going to be super obvious like adult homicide cases typically are. So we need to make sure that we’re taking the steps to go through all of that investigation so that we can rule out something like SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome]. Still horribly tragic for any family to go through. But, that’s not necessarily a human being causing that," said Lt. Snuggs.

Lt. Snuggs said the unit also works with members of the Department of Human Services (DHS). She said DHS decides if other children in the home under investigation should be moved or placed under the care of another adult.

Data from the El Paso County Department of Human Services shows almost a 10% increase in calls to the DHS child abuse and neglect hotline over the past three years. In 2021, there were 21,411 calls and in 2023 the hotline received 23,531 calls.

Child Community Services in Colorado Springs provides case management services and counseling to children who have suffered abuse. CEO Christine Talbott said the majority of the abuse they see is at the hands of a biological parent. She said warning signs of child abuse can include sudden changes in behavior, a child acting angry more often, missing school and doctor appointments, and injuries not consistent with accidental falls.

"Anything where it’s facial or they’re complaining of pain in the back, the lower back, the organs, or they’re having trouble sitting. Those are not normal," said Talbott.

She said it is best to report any kind of suspected child abuse and neglect to the statewide hotline at 844-CO-4-Kids.

Lt. Snuggs said those reports can help them down the road if they have to open an investigation.
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