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Nov 11, 2013 11:21 PM by Zach Thaxton

5-year-old dead: Family blames inaction by legal system

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- A family outraged, a little boy in Colorado Springs is dead, his mother is accused of murder.

The boy's grandmother says, this could have been avoided. They are pointing the finger tonight at the Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff's Office, and the court system, saying their lack of action may have lead to tragedy.

Shannon Dodson, 42-years-old, is being held without bond on First Degree Murder. More charges could be filed. She'll appear in court Wednesday.

Jude Murray-Gomez, 5-years-old, was rushed to the hospital Friday after a fire at the Hill Park Apartments. He died, but the coroner says he was drowned.

The family says Jude was the center of a difficult custody battle. They say Shannon Dodson had mental health problems and Jude's grandmother was seeking full custody.

In the meantime, Dodson had a weekend of custody with Jude, which began November 1st. It was the last time day they saw Jude alive.

"Very sweet little boy and we miss him dearly," Jude's grandmother, Jillian Gomez, said Monday.

Jude's father, grandmother, and uncle sat down to speak out on Monday, in the wake of his drowning death. His mother, Shannon Dodson, is accused in the crime.

The family is angry. They say it could have been stopped.

"This was preventable on so many levels," Jude's uncle, Juan Gomez, said.

Juan says Jude was set for a visit with his mom the weekend of November 1st. His grandmother Jillian watched as Shannon picked him up from school.

"I thought she might run out of state or do something drastic and we might never find him," Jillian said.

When Jillian went to pick him up on Sunday, no one was home at Shannon's apartment. Jillian was told her daughter had moved out. In a panic, she went to the police.

"They said, it's a civil matter. You'll have to go down to file a contempt of court," Jillian said.

"A civil matter is when you sue somebody because they hit your car or something like that," Juan said. "This is a child we're talking about here."

A week goes by, until last Friday. A fire at the Hill Park Apartments. Jude, dead.

Initially, it's thought Jude died in the fire. Then, word from police he was drowned by his mother.

"This lady had it in her head that she wanted to do that," Juan said. "She did not want to not have custody of this child. She seen the end coming."

"A friend of hers messaged me and told me that she had told her at one point while this was going on that if something was to happen with Jude, that she would take them both out of this world," Jillian recounted.

On the day Jude died, a cryptic one-word status update on Shannon Dodson's Facebook page: "Fini", which means 'to finish, to end' in French.

Fire investigators won't say yet how the fire started, and court papers that could indicate when and how Jude was drowned haven't been released yet.

News 5 called Colorado Springs Police and El Paso County Human Services Monday to ask why Jude's case seemed to slip through the cracks. Due to the Veterans Day holiday, we did not yet receive those answers. We will continue to track any developments in this story.



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