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How did 3-year-old Owen Collins die, and why hasn’t the autopsy and toxicology reports come back?

Updated on April 1, 2015

How did 3-year-old Owen Collins die, and why hasn't the autopsy and toxicology reports come back yet?

It’s been more than two months since 21-year-old Breanna Arnold and 30-year-old Zachary Barnes were arrested in connection to the death of Arnold’s 3-year-old son Owen. Owen Collins was reported missing on Sunday, January 18, 2015 after police showed up at the trailer park home to execute a wellness check on the child. When authorities arrived on the property around 12:30 PM Sunday afternoon, the baby was nowhere to be found, sparking an intense search with a devastating end.

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Little Owen Never Had A Chance, Alive Or Dead

Authorities have said that Arnold and Barnes were shooting up dope the night Owen died. Barnes admitted that they had put dope in the little boy's bottle and continued on doing what they were doing. When Arnold finally went to check on Owen and his 6-year-old brother, she had found Owen dead, coming out of the room holding her young son’s body and said “my baby”. Now this is when most mother’s would have called the police to report that their child was lifeless and not breathing, nope not this mother. Arnold allowed her boyfriend, 30-year-old Zachary Barnes and their 16-year-old companion to wrap the baby in plastic wrap and throw him into a dresser drawer where his body was found by his 6-year-old brother on Sunday morning. After Owen’s brother found his body the meth heads decided to have a conversation about chopping up the baby and throwing him in the river, but instead they decided to throw the baby’s body in a cardboard box and hitch a ride to a wooded area some 12 miles away where they proceeded to soak the box in nail polish remover and started it on fire.

The Driver Has Not Been Charged?

The woman who gave Zachary Barnes and his 16-year-old accomplice a ride told police exactly what she knew and even showed them where they could find the remains of the little 3-year-old. At 8:00 PM Sunday, January 18, 2015, the remains of little Owen’s badly burnt body was found in the spot the driver said she dropped Barnes and his accomplice at, but this driver has not been charged in the case.

Should the driver in this case be charged

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Preliminary charges for Arnold and Barnes

21-year-old Arnold and her 30-year-old boyfriend Zachary Barnes were initially charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and abuse of a corpse, leaving the teenager charged with abusing a corpse as well. Initially the meth head couple was held without bond, giving the State Prosecutor some 72 hours to file former charges on them.

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Formal charges against Arnold and Barnes

Formal charges have been filed against the couple, ranging from neglect to abusing a corpse, to obstruction of justice, and even altering the scene of a crime. Formal murder charges have not been entered in this crime, because the official cause of death has yet to be revealed, but once the autopsy and toxicology reports come back, this couple could in fact see their charges upgraded from neglect causing death to first-degree unintentional homicide, or even felony murder.


Bond was set following not guilty pleas

Both Arnold and Barnes initially plead not-guilty to the charges and bond was set at 300,000 dollars apiece while their teenager counter-part remained in the custody of the juvenile court on a single charge of abusing a corpse. Their bond was raised to 350,000 dollars shortly thereafter, as did their charges, but the couple still maintains that they are innocent and did not neglect Arnold’s son resulting in his death.

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New Charges against Arnold and Barnes

Since the upgrade of their bond, Arnold and Barnes learned they were being charged with several felonies, including the following. A level 1 felony of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, two level 5 felonies of neglecting a dependent, one level 6 felony for obstructing justice, one level 6 felony for altering the scene of death, one level 6 felony for abusing a corpse, and one level 4 felony for dealing methamphetamine. Now remember that both Arnold and Barnes were charged with all these felonies separately, so total they are looking at 7 felony charges a piece.

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Why is there no cause of death or toxicology reports after two months?

People all over the world are wondering why it is taking so long for the medical examiner to release a cause of death for little Owen Collins, and news outlets stated back in January that it could take up to two weeks to receive a cause of death, but in reality a toxicology report can take 4 to 6 weeks and sometimes longer depending on the type of testing and whether there is a need to have it confirmed on several levels. Toxicology testing is not like an autopsy, which can typically be completed within a single day, there is multiple levels of scientific testing that is required to get secure and accurate results. I personally would rather it take quite a long time to get an answer and know they did it right, than to have it come back in a short period of time risking the chance of the tests coming back inaccurate or unfinished. The mystery behind Owen’s death is far from finished, as is the court battles of his murderers, justice for Owen will be had, and it’s just a matter of time.

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© 2015 Amanda Seaton

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      katy 2 months ago

      why did it take so long to get the autopsy back and everyone just stoped

      talking abut the death of little owen

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Jennifer,

      I agree with you. I know from covering these cases that if the results came back the family would be the first to know. Unfortunately a lot of people get caught up in the CSI effect and feel that law enforcement can have their answers in the time it takes to run some film and slap 10 minutes worth of commercials on it. My condolences to the family as all those involved.

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      Jennifer 2 years ago

      How exactly do you know they have his results back? As part of his family, I can assure you we haven't been told they have results yet. When posting articles, or sharing, or even commenting, make sure you know before you speak. Before this article we weren't even aware the older boy found the younger one! I'm sick all over again!!!

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Unfortunately I could not find any information regarding an upcoming trial date.

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      abby 2 years ago

      So when is the trial

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      I would rather them issue the results so that those who love and support this little boy can finally confront the two murderers that have yet to be charged with 1st degree murder. A reign of fire is about to smack them over the head, they just don't know it yet.

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      Larry 2 years ago

      I would rather they issue a gag order as they did in Bkackfird County. Why jeopardize the jury pool.

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      My point was that results don't come back right away as most people believe they do. If the results are back great, but I hope they charge they with murder at some point.

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      Dani 2 years ago

      the results are back, until trial they won't be released, the prosecutor wants the worst sentence for these killers they deserve it! So be patient we want the worst for these killers, it's worth the wait!!! Trust me...

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Sabrina they will rot but more than likely not as long as we would hope.

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      Sabrina Bruner 2 years ago

      Evil evil evil I hope they rot

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Exactly. Sometimes it takes months to get a report back.

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      Angie Decker 2 years ago

      It can take up to 12 weeks to get the report back. This is real life not TV people

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      Amanda Seaton 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Unfortunately it's an all to common occurrence in this country. Victims continue to be harmed long after their gone because the laws and the courts go easy on the people responsible. The media may be quit talking about Owen but we never will. His life was taken too early, and though the two low life's responsible may get off with light sentences, it doesn't mean we as a society won't continue to fight for little Owen.

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      Donna Mayer 2 years ago

      Isn't it strange that the media has just quit talking about the autopsy or toxicology reports in this case. You think they would have tried to get answers again. They have also offered a plea deal or jury trial. To me that's not justice for that boy.