Babysitter arrested after teen’s suicide

CANON CITY, COLO. — Canon City Police officers arrested 30-year-old Brenda Lynette Harding, Friday in the 900 block of North 5th Street, after an investigation into the death of a Buena Vista 15-year-old.

Tristen Hagen was found dead on the top of the “Hogbacks” near Skyline Drive April 4th after being reported missing two days earlier. The Fremont County Coroner ruled the death a suicide from an overdose of two prescription medications, Oxycodone and Skelaxin.

Canon City investigators believe Hagen killed himself based on a pattern of abuse. Harding admits to having a sexual relationship and falling in love with the teen.  Affidavit reports show Harding was the teen’s babysitter during the summer of 2010 and that June, the two had sex for the first time. Hagen was 14 and Harding was 29, at the time.

Hagen’s family members were concerned with Harding’s routine phonecalls and texts. The documents show the teen had been forbidden to be friends with Harding. One day before Hagen went missing, his step-father learned that Harding was still contacting Hagen through Facebook.  He told her to leave Hagen alone; he told her if she didn’t stop communicating with and seeing Hagen he was going to have a restraining order placed against her.

In a Facebook conversation written to Harding, Hagen said,”I’m getting a tattoo on my back but b4 I do I wanted to run it by u it’s going to be 6-5-10,” the date they first had sex. Hagen had even gone so far as to tell his friends he was going to kill or seriously injure Harding’s husband.

“Right now, we don’t have any other victims on the horizon. Our investigation isn’t totally complete,” Capt. Allen Cooper, Canon City Police Department.

Hagen is facing two class three felonies: Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust, Pattern of Abuse.

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