Mother questions investigation into son's death after lead detective found guilty

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A local mother is reliving the pain of losing her five-month old son at a Montara neighborhood home day care four years ago.

Former Shawnee County Sheriff's Deputy Erin Thompson was the lead investigator in the case -- last week, she pleaded guilty to charges she lied in different cases leaving Misty Durham with unanswered questions about her child's death.

Durham said she was "appalled" after hearing former deputy Erin Thompson was sentenced to spend four days in jail, 24 months on supervised probation and pay a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty to two counts of interfering with law enforcement.

"I am really upset over the plea bargain," Durham said," I feel like it was way too minimal."

Thompson was originally charged with two felony counts of perjury - but she struck a deal with prosecutors.

"and to find out that the two felonies were dropped down to two class A misdemeanors. It's just, I have no idea what these people were thinking," Durham said.

Thompson investigated the 2013 death of Durham's 5-month old son, Caleb Stewart, after he was found unresponsive laying in a dog bed in Tara Johnson's unlicensed daycare home.

"I know them files back and forth in my sleep," Durham said, "I knew that this lady was not doing her job years ago. It doesn't give me confirmation that she wasn't doing her job. I spoke out, I tried to get help that she wasn't doing her job years ago."

Sgt. Todd Stallbaumer said the Sheriff's Office completed an internal investigation in 2016 and it was determined that Thompson followed all protocols in Caleb's case.

In light of Thompson's guilty plea, Durham had hoped authorities would see the need to, again, look into other cases the former deputy worked.

We reached out to Sgt. Stallbaumer who said this case has been
"looked at a second time already and will not be reopened."

But for Durham it's far from finished

In a 13 NEWS interview with Durham 3 years ago she said, "I can't give up looking for answers. Because Caleb might have passed but I'm his mother for the rest of my life."

Although the questions have since changed, she's still looking for answers.

"What else did she not do her job about? In my case I know it was my son's case," Durham said. "But if I can't get anybody to help me and to do anything about it, even at this point with her admitting that she interferes with law enforcement instead of is law enforcement, then what good does it do?"

Kansas attorney general spokesperson Jennifer Montgomery says Thompson no longer has law enforcement credentials.