Teen charged with manslaughter in death of foster mom

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Mesa County Sheriff's Office said a teen girl has been arrested in connection with a Grand Valley death investigation.

Investigators said 14-year-old Stephanie Hauck faces manslaughter and assault charges, according to the sheriff's office.

According to an arrest affidavit, deputies were called to the 500 block of 29 1/2 Road on Feb. 13 after a Department of Human Services representative, who was making an unannounced visit, found a “foster mom dead on the floor” and “cold to the touch.”

The coroner identified the victim as 61-year-old Linda Smith. The coroner said the manner of death was a homicide but the cause of death is still under investigation.

DHS placed Hauck with Smith the week before the incident, according to court documents.

Deputies said, when they arrived, Hauck locked herself in her bedroom and refused to comply with authorities. Hauck reportedly began to fight with deputies but was eventually taken into protective custody.

Hauck refused to tell deputies what happened with Smith, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said they found numerous wounds on Smith’s body, which appeared to be puncture wounds that matched a large 2-prong cooking fork found at the scene. However, the coroner determined that the puncture wounds did not cause “serious bodily injury.” The coroner said Smith had heart and lung disease, and the attack with the fork likely caused sudden death due to her frail health.

Hauck was being held without bond at the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections' Grand Mesa Youth Services Center, according to the sheriff's office.

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