ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Jail time began today for the man whose stepson drowned in the Meramec August, 2012. Todd Combs faced charges of endangering the welfare of children during that fatal float trip.
Several family members walked out in the middle of the sentencing hearing. They said they felt like convict Todd Combs refused to take responsibility. Prosecutors say Combs showered minors with alcohol and even drove them out to the Meramec river despite a revoked drivers license for seven DUIs. 12-year-old Christopher Marks drowned during the trip. Combs will pay with one year in jail.
Todd Combs had no comment as he walked toward the St. Louis County Justice Center, smoking a cigarette. His wife Elizabeth supported him. She`s the late Christopher Marks` Mom. Elizabeth Combs told the judge she wanted to find blame for her son`s death, but could not. Marks` Grandmother couldn`t take hearing it. She walked out of the courtroom.
Lisa Miskimon said, “My daughter`s lost to me too and that`s hard for me. I`ve got one in the ground and one that breathes and I, I can`t have my family and it`s hard. What happened to this man today is a travesty.” Katie Marks came over to hug her Grandmother as she cried. Katie was there on the Meramec the weekend her brother drowned. She added, “The judge will see later that she did not make a good decision.” Chris Hayes asked, “Why do you say that?” Marks responded, “Because there should`ve been enough evidence right there, just on that paper and we tried.”
They wanted the maximum, 7 years in jail for Combs. The paper she referenced, was Combs` long arrest record and repeated DUI convictions. Fox2 caught Combs on camera, driving on his revoked license, just weeks after his stepson drowned. Katie Marks said Combs was the only supervising adult that fatal weekend. She said he was buying alcohol and the kids were drinking it.
Marks said, “My brother was definitely intoxicated. He was drinking Captain Morgan and 4 Loko and he was definitely intoxicated and that is my stepdad`s fault.”
Katie, who`s 16, now struggles to remind herself that she was just a kid out there and that her brother`s drowning is not her fault.
Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroeder spoke strongly to Combs. She said she wasn`t convinced he`s doing anything about his drinking problem. After Combs serves one year in jail, he`ll face two years probation and wear a special bracelet that senses alcohol. If Combs drinks, at any time during his probation, he`ll go back to jail.