A Ray County man abandoned his two young sons to die in a trailer fire and then lied to authorities about his valiant efforts to save them, according to court charges filed Thursday.
Randy M. Garrison, 31, is charged with two counts of child abandonment in the deaths of 1-year-old Ashton Garrison and 3-year-old Roger Garrison. The boys died in a midday fire on Dec. 10 at 9634 Shach Creek Road.
According to authorities, Garrison said he returned home from work that morning and went to bed. He said he awoke to the sounds of his sons screaming from their bedroom and the small home engulfed in fire.
Garrison described how he fought his way through flames and smoke to try to reach his boys, but he tripped over a bungee cord and fell face-down into the fire. Garrison told investigators he had to leave the home. He said he ripped siding off the outside of the trailer and punched a hole through to try to reach his sons but was overcome by smoke.
Court documents, however, indicate Garrison changed many parts of his account over several days of questioning. Medical personnel said he did not have burns or carbon monoxide levels consistent with someone who had been in a fire as Garrison described. A firefighter also said there was no damage to the outside of the trailer consistent with someone trying to force his way inside.
According to court documents, when Garrison was confronted with his inconsistencies he said he woke up to a nightmare and thought the fire was a lot bigger than it was.
“Maybe I panicked, maybe I didn’t think, I don’t know,” Garrison allegedly told investigators.
Days after the fire, Garrison allegedly told an officer that a woman who also lived at the trailer had threatened to kill him and his sons, court documents said. He then said he thought she had abducted his sons and they were not dead.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol was asked by Ray County Sheriff Garry Bush to assist with the death investigation. The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also assisted.
The court documents do not say how the fire started.
Garrison was being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.