Family releases balloons at boys’ gravesites, claims charges against dad are unfair

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ORRICK, Mo. --  The father of two boys who died in a fire inside the family's trailer in Orrick, Mo. in December faced a judge on Friday in Ray County.

Randy Garrison, 31, is charged with two counts of child abandonment.

His sons, Roger Wayne, 3, and 21-month-old Ashton Michael were trapped inside the burning trailer home in Orrick, which is about 35 miles northeast of Kansas City.

Randy Garrison walking into court in Ray Co. on Friday, March 21.

Randy Garrison walking into court in Ray Co. on Friday, March 21.

In court on Friday, Garrison pleaded not guilty and asked the judge to reduce his $100,000 bond, but the judge denied the request.

"I advise you to get an attorney," the judge said, and then set Garrison's next court date for April 1.

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.

They also say Garrison tried to pin the fire on the boys' mother, who says she woke up Garrison and told him she was leaving the trailer to run errands. He also claimed that the boys' bedroom door was tied shut, preventing Garrison from getting to them. Garrison implied it was Tamara Willis, the mother, who trapped the boys inside their room.

However, police did not believe Garrison's version of events.

Two boys were killed in a fire in Orrick, Mo. on Tuesday morning, Dec 10.

Two boys were killed in a fire in Orrick, Mo. on Tuesday morning, Dec 10.

On Friday, Ashton, the youngest of the boys would have been two-years old.  Before Garrison's arrest, the Garrison family planned to release balloons at the gravesite in memory of Ashton and Roger.

Because he's in jail, Randy Garrison's mother, sister, and other family members went without him on Friday.

"I'm trying to, I guess, let him know there is still hope. This investigation is so wrong," said Garrison's sister, Christina Johnson.

But police say the evidence shows Garrison was not in the burning trailer. 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.

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.

"These balloons are from your daddy. He loves you," they said at Ashton's and Roger's graves.

The charges against Garrison carry up to 15 years in prison. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Earlier coverage:

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9 comments

    • InnocentChild

      Well DC, that one is an interesting question. If you take a look at the probably cause statement, read the Mom’s statement and then read the statement of a ‘witness’ that drove up and got cursed out apparently.

      If mom woke up between 930 and 1000 am, LATE for her appointment, then why was she at the witnesses home right after she left HER home telling HIM that the kids were asleep and the Dad was awake. The fire started somewhere around Noon. And unless Mom woke up and went straight out the front door, I’d say it’s a good guess she left around 1030 to 11. And how long was she at the neighbor’s home? Why didn’t she go straight to the late appointment?

      And if the ‘witness’ was told that the children were with the father, and he drove up, and he stated the fire wasn’t that bad at the time he got cursed at, why would HE NOT try to help? Or call 911?

      And why did the MOM not show up at the fire until AFTER the Dad came back from the hospital? Her mother told the news that she had found her a few hours after the fire started. But MOM doesn’t show up until well over around 3 hours (if we believe the investigators that Dad was chatting with family for an hour and a half after leaving ER, and he had to have been there at LEAST an hour or more).

      You see the inconsistencies about the Mom? And there was also someone on another news site that said her brother was a first responder and that he saw the MOM show up smelling of alcohol and doing things that she shouldn’t have gotten away with.

    • Joe

      none: Are you drunk or high on drugs? You can barely put a sentence together and you are showing everyone how unintelligent you are. Stop bringing up someone’s past when we are focusing on two little children who were neglected and ultimately died a horrible death. After all this, you want to focus on the mother’s past. Stop it!

    • Joe

      The good news, if what you say is true, is that the mother is now clean and had been able to keep both children. Congratulations to her for cleaning up and condolences for her tragic loss. Unfortunately, it sounds as if you are still phuqued up.

      • InnocentChild

        Actually Joe, the mother is NOT clean and does NOT have custody of her other children nor will she ever. I think her past is actually important.

        She neglected and abused her two older children at the same ages as the poor babies that died int hat fire. She is STILL a drug addict. It’s in court records.

        She will NEVER be allowed around one of the children. EVER.