ORRICK, Mo. — The father of two boys who died in a fire inside the family’s trailer home in Orrick, Mo. in December is now charged with two counts of child abandoment.
Randy Garrison, 31, is being held at the Ray County Jail on $100,000 bond.
His sons, Roger Wayne, 3, and 21-month-old Ashton Michael were trapped inside the burning house in Orrick, which is about 35 miles northeast of Kansas City.
Police believe Garrison was not inside the trailer at the time of the fire; that he left them alone, although Garrison claimed he was there and tried to save them and suffered burns and injuries in the process.
In December Garrison told FOX 4 that he returned home from a 24-hour shift around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10 and went straight to bed. He said he later woke to the sound of his sons screaming at about 11:30 a.m. He told FOX 4 that the boys’ mother was not home.
“Woke up hearing them screaming at the top of their lungs,” he said in December. “Flames in my bedroom and flames in the hallway, flames through the whole house.”
Garrison said he first tried to bust through his bedroom wall but couldn’t. That’s when he says he ran into the hall and tripped. He said he tripped over a bungee cord or something that was holding the boys’ door shut.
Garrison told police that a few days earlier Tamara Willis, the boys’ mother, threatened to kill him and the boys. He claimed she left the house without telling anyone.
But Willis told police she woke up Garrison before she left the house to run errands.
On Thursday, in the probable cause statement outlining the charges against Garrison, police said the medical staff that treated Garrison did not see any burns on his face, hands or clothing. A nurse reported that Garrison, although he claimed to be in the smoke-filled house for some time, did not cough as she would expect from someone who inhaled so much smoke.
“I just knew from the very first that the story he told was not right. I’m glad the police discovered that also,” said Marjorie Long, the children’s grandmother.
Police also say Garrison’s story doesn’t add up because they believe the boys would not have been able to scream, as they were overcome with smoke. They also say in addition to no evidence of burns on his hands, feet or face, Garrison’s white shirt was not soiled with soot, burns or smoke.
Earlier report from December 2013: