Autopsy reveals little: Cause of infant’s death unknown

EL PASO, Texas – The cause of death could not be determined for an El Paso baby whose parents were arrested in Escanaba last November. The child’s autopsy report was released earlier this week.

The autopsy report of 5-month-old Jackson Farrey concludes at this time there is no evidence the child was injured or poisoned, according to the medical investigator at the University of New Mexico who conducted the autopsy.

The infant’s decomposed body was found buried in a New Mexico desert on Nov. 20, three days after his parents, Jenna and Jeffrey Farrey, were arrested in Escanaba. At the time, the couple had their older son, Blake, now 21 months old, with them but Jackson was missing.

According to Jackson’s autopsy report – which took eight weeks before being released – both the cause and manner of the child’s death “could not be determined.”

The report’s summary states Jackson was found buried in “a shallow grave.” He “was clad in a soiled diaper and wrapped in a fleece blanket.” The child’s body was “severely decomposed.” The autopsy indicated the boy “may have been slightly under-developed for his reported age.”

El Paso Police Department were looking for the Farreys last November because they were considered “endangered” and “missing and unaccounted for” from their El Paso home on Nov. 15. Jeffrey Farrey, 22, an Army specialist, had gone AWOL from Fort Bliss. When a military official went to the Farrey home, a suspicious note was found creating concern for their well-being.

The Farreys, minus Jackson, were located by Escanaba Public Safety on Nov. 17 at the Eagle Motel in Escanaba. The father was arrested on the AWOL charge. The mother was arrested as a fugitive from justice for violating her five-year probation on a 2012 charge of abandoning or endangering a child with intent to return.

Shortly after their arrests in Escanaba, the parents were extradited to El Paso County Jail where Jeffrey Farrey remains lodged in jail after being indicted on one count of injury to a child by omission.

He is scheduled to go to trial in October.

In an e-mail to the Daily Press on Friday, Det. Mike Baranyay of the El Paso Police Department stated the charge of injury to a child by omission is a first-degree felony with a maximum sentencing of life in prison.

“This charge carries various penalty levels based on the culpable mental state of the perpetrator as well as the level of injury to the victim,” the detective stated.

“Punishment for a first-degree felony includes confinement in prison for life, or 5-99 years, and also a fine not to exceed $10,000,” Baranyay added.

Jenna Farrey, 20, remains lodged in the Texas jail on the probation violation. Baranyay said no new charges have been filed against Jenna Farrey at this time.

“Investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible,” the detective stated in the e-mail.

The Farrey’s son, Blake, is under foster care in El Paso. Following the couple’s arrest in Escanaba, Blake was placed under the care of local Child Protective Services.

When the detective was questioned Friday why the Farrey’s fled to Escanaba, he replied he did not know.