AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mother accused of injuring her child and tampering with evidence in connection to two-year-old Colton Turner’s death appeared in court Monday afternoon for a pre-trial hearing. Meagan Work’s attorneys wants the judge to block evidence taken when she was first questioned and detained.
Last year police received a tip about a Facebook picture officers said showed Colton with bruises on him. Investigators searched for the boy to check on him but later found the toddler’s body in a shallow grave in East Austin last September
For nearly four hours a judge heard from witnesses, mainly Cedar Park Police Officers, who detained and questioned Work.
“We believe, as you will see during this hearing is, that as soon as this investigation started the rulebook immediately went out the window.” said Darla Davis, Meagan Work’s attorney.
Davis told the court she believes her client was wrongfully detained and questioned. She alleges Cedar Park Police took Work’s property like her cell phone, keys, purse and truck without a search warrant when police found her at a friends out on Sept. 10, 2014.
Davis also said Work asked for an attorney and wasn’t given one. Davis said Work also stayed at the Cedar Park Police Department for 24 hours even though police said she was not under arrest. Work’s attorney also alleged that her client repeatedly told police she was pregnant, was sick and was only given a breakfast taco and water after being there for about 12 hours.
Three of the ten witnesses took the stand Monday and described what exactly happened the night they spoke with Work.
“What she was telling us didn’t make sense, like I said, it was too easy to put holes in, nothing stood up,” said Sgt. Robert Boyd with the Cedar Park Police Department.
He explained how he received a call about a possible child abuse situation and searched for Meagan and her boyfriend, Michael Turner, but didn’t find them. He said, once they located Meagan, they were most concerned with where her son was.
“It wasn’t tense, it wasn’t heated it was just more we were trying to find out where Colton was at,” said Sgt. Boyd as he described how they talked to Meagan.
Boyd said Work told them Colton was near Houston and that she texted a friend to lie to police and tell them he was there.
Officers told the court Work seemed evasive. When they showed her pictures of Colton with bruising she asked them, “How do you know that the photos weren’t Photoshopped?”
“As a parent, in my 24 years as an officer and delivering really bad messages to parents, I never heard that kind of response, I knew immediately something bad had happened,” said Cpl. Bill Guthrie who was also there the night police detained Work.
Besides witness testimony, other evidence like dash cam video from outside the house she was staying was shown in court as evidence.
The pre-trial hearing is expected to continue Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in front of Judge David Wahlberg. It could last through Wednesday. Her trial is expected to be in November of this year. Michael Turner is still in custody and will have a pre-trial next month.
Neither Work or Turner are charged with murder, but Austin Police say the charge of injury to a child carries the same punishment as murder.
Work gave birth to another boy in March, he was then placed in foster care.