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Arizona Campground Death Case Resumes

January 19, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Christina Priem, the custodial mom of Sylar Newton, and Priem’s mother, Nancy Collins, appeared before Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley Tuesday morning (Jan. 18) in Camp Verde, Ariz., for a case management conference.

Both are facing charges of child abuse and Priem is facing additional charges of involving a minor in drug use. The charges result from the investigation into the death of 2-year-old Syler while he was in their care at the Beaver Creek Campground, the Verde Independent reported.

Sylar disappeared from the tent he shared with Priem and Collins during a camping trip at the campground last July 23. After an exhaustive well-publicized search of the area by law enforcement and volunteers, the child’s body was eventually found by a distant relative when water drained from a pool less than two miles away in August.

Priem was represented in court by Attorney Tony Gonzales of Flagstaff. He told the court that she does not have the resources to cover representation and has agreed to withdraw from the case. The judge agreed that the 36-year-old woman qualifies for a public defender and told Gonzales to turn his materials over to that office.

Ainley set the next appearance for Feb 1 at 9 a.m.

Michael Shaw represents Nancy Collins. He told the court that there is a significant amount of “discovery” and the case is “complex,” which would add time under Arizona’s speedy trial rule if the judge agrees. Shaw told the court that he has not seen evidence for that yet but asked for more time. The judge, however, also asked if Shaw would appear Feb. 1 “in order to “keep both cases on the same track.”

After receipt of toxicology results, sheriff’s detectives believes that Sylar ingested medication prescribed to Priem for seizures and panic attacks and also was given cold medicine. Witnesses report the child appeared to be under the influence and could barely keep open his eyes the night he is said to have wandered off.

Priem is also charged with providing her son and a friend with marijuana during the outing.

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