Private investigator: Death of 5-year-old by mother could have been prevented

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Kenny Kruescher with his mother, Sara Atkinson

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DENVER -- After a young boy from Colorado was shot and killed by his mother, a private investigator hired by the woman is speaking out. She said the boy's death could have been prevented.

The investigator said she was devastated to learn that 5-year-old Kenny Kruescher was shot and killed by his mom in Montana. She didn't want us to use her last name.

But Desi said the mother showed increasing signs of erratic behavior. The boy's father, Ken Kruescher, shared his anguish on Friday, just a few days after Sara Atkinson killed their son and then committed suicide.

"I've been telling everyone in court this was a possibility that this would happen," he said.

On Sunday, he joined mourners at Red Rocks to remember the little boy.

"My instincts said she might take Kenny and run. Maybe leave the state. But I never thought that she would physically harm the little boy," Desi said.

The private investigator was hired by Atkinson to follow the father during a custody battle. Atkinson was trying to show he was abusing the boy.

"The interaction when he was with his father, he was happy," Desi said.

But then Desi started to suspect Atkinson was lying.

"We've offered to contact social services, the police department or the school or the therapy center and she was against it," she said.

In fact, Atkinson had restraining orders against Desi. And just before the investigator was fired, Atkinson repeated a chilling warning.

"She was afraid that the father was going to take the child from her and she said that she would kill him before she ever let that happen ... that she would shoot him and herself," Desi said.

On March 5, police said that's what Atkinson did.

"To hear that she actually went through with what she said she was going to do it was ... it was very hard," Desi said.

Desi said social services should be held accountable.

"We have cases where we've gone to social services and said these children are being abused. We have documentation on it and they turn us away," she said.

Desi said the 5-year-old boy should still be alive.

"I really would like to see something done because how many other kids have to lose their life and get caught in a crossfire because social services doesn't help or somebody doesn't believe one parent?" she said.

After releasing a statement about the case on Friday, social services said Monday it could not even confirm it ever had contact with Kenny's parents.

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