Robert Aragon Charged in Daughter’s Death
Posted by shadmia on December 30, 2008
Robert Aragon, 55, of Jerome, ID., is in the Blaine County Jail. He has been charged with second degree murder and felony injury to a child. He made an initial appearance December 29, 2008 in 5th District Court, where Judge Mark Ingram appointed a public defender for him. His bond was set at $500,000.
His 11-year-old daughter, Sage Aragon, is dead. Her frozen body was found, barely visible under windblown, drifting snow at about 2:00 am December 26, 2008 by search dogs. She was wearing a brown down coat, black shirt, pink pajama pants and tan snow boots. She was pronounced dead at 4:15 a.m. at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center south of Ketchum.
His 12-year-old son, Bear Aragon, was found alive at around 11:00 pm on Christmas night, wearing only long underwear. Apparently delusional from hypothermia, he had discarded his jacket, pants and shoes. He was treated and released from hospital.
These unfortunate events began on Christmas morning when Robert Aragon was driving his two kids, Sage and Bear, to visit their mother, JoLeta Jenks, who lives in West Magic Reservoir. According to his cousin, Kenneth Quintana, who went along for the ride, they were supposed to meet the kids’ mother halfway along the way. However, their car got stuck in a snow drift near the intersection of Highway 75 and W. Magic Rd., about 10 miles away from their destination. It was decided that the kids should start walking towards their mother’s house, Kenneth would go back to the highway to get help and Robert would stay with the car.
“I just want everybody to know that Bob did not send his kids out to die – he didn’t,” Quintana said. “He didn’t even want to let them go, but the kids were confident, hell I was even confident in that she (the mother) was going to be there.”
Eventually they got the car out of the snow and Robert and Kenneth returned home. They assumed that the kids had made it safely to their mother’s house. Around 4:00 pm JoLeta Jenks called Robert to find out why her kids had not yet reached her house. Robert explained what had happened and, with Kenneth, drove back in the car to start looking for the kids. In the meantime JoLeta called the police.
“They didn’t even call me, telling me they were walking,” she told the Times-News.
Robert and Kenneth found the spot where they had gotten stuck earlier and tried to follow the kids footprints in the snow. They lost track of them in the blowing snow and were forced to return back to the car when the weather started getting worse.
The police organized a search party in the knee-deep snow and they eventually found the boy at around 10:00 pm about 4.5 miles away, dressed only in his underwear. The girl was not found until 2:00 am the following morning about 2.7 miles away. According to JoLeta, who later questioned her son, Bear, the children had a disagreement on what to do when they got lost in the snow.
“(Bear) kept on telling her: ‘Let’s go, Sage, let’s go, Sage,'” Jenks said, recalling what her son told her. “She said, ‘No, I’m going back.'”
Sage was pronounced dead at a Ketchum hospital; preliminary autopsy results indicate she died of hypothermia. Officials say temperatures in the area at the time the girl was missing ranged from 27 degrees above zero to minus 5.
Robert Aragon was arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of his daughter and felony injury to a child in the case of his son. He was emotional during his appearance before Judge Mark Ingram:
He banged his head on the defendant’s table as Ingram read the charges against him, The Times-News reported. After Ingram noted that second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, Aragon said “Oh my God” as he banged his head on the table one final time.
JoLeta Jenks and Robert Aragon are not married. While she said she doesn’t understand the decision Aragon is accused of making in letting the children walk to her house, Jenks added:
“I don’t need to sit and yell. I know he’s going through hell right now.”