Missouri resident Todd Combs has been found guilty of seven counts of second-degree child endangerment, one of which resulted in the death of his 12-year-old step son.
Combs disturbingly provided massive amounts of alcohol to his step-son and 6 other minors at a family picnic last August. Combs stocked a cooler full of beer and liquor, and even ran to a convenience store to restock the cooler after it ran out.
All of the alcohol was too much for Christopher Marks, his 12-year-old step son, to handle. The boy drowned in a nearby river, and his body wasn’t recovered for days.
Prosecutors hoped to charge Combs with a more severe manslaughter charge, but toxicology prevented them from doing so. Ethanol produced during the boy’s post-mortem decomposition process made it impossible to tell how much alcohol was in his system when he died.
“It's disappointing that we can't determine the full extent of what occurred,” prosecutor Bob McCulloch said. “The death of this child was clearly caused by (Combs') criminal conduct. Circumstances like this would warrant more serious charges, but we can only charge what we can prove.”
As you’d expect, Combs and the boy’s mother are now separated.
“My life's forever changed,” she said. “I will never be who I was. I will never have normalcy in my life.”
Combs sentencing was originally scheduled for today, but has now been pushed back to July.