Parents charged in boy's death

Date: 2010-06-18

Days after a 4-year-old apparently drowns in an Andrew home, his adoptive mother is accused of murder and his adoptive father faces child-endangerment charges.


ANDREW, Iowa -- Karen Friend knows this much -- she loved her grandson.

But the Dubuque resident also realizes she never got to love him as much as she wanted.

"I never really got to know him," she said. "I wasn't allowed (to.)"

On Saturday, Friend learned she was robbed of the chance to build a relationship with her grandson, 4-year-old Collin Parker William Holdgrafer when he apparently drowned in a bathtub.

On Thursday, she learned that her own son and daughter-in-law, both of Andrew, would be charged with his death.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Danielle L. Holdgrafer, 29, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder. Her husband, Andrew W. Holdgrafer, 31, was arrested on the charge of child endangerment resulting in the death of a child.

"It hurts," Friend said. "It's devastating."

On Saturday, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call from Andrew Holdgrafer, who said he was driving Collin to the hospital because the boy had nearly drowned. An ambulance met Andrew on Pershing Road in Maquoketa and drove him the rest of the way to the Jackson County Regional Health Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m. The cause of death has not been officially released.

Friend says her grandson's death -- while tragic -- came as little surprise.

"I've called the (Department of Human Services)," she said. "I knew there were problems."

Yet Friend said nothing was done, despite numerous calls from her and other family members. Both local and state DHS officials declined comment on the matter, saying it is still under investigation.

Collin and his brother, Darien, 6, were adopted by Andrew and Danielle -- their biological uncle and aunt by marriage -- after their mother, Jodi L. Holdgrafer, 30, was arrested on drug charges. She is now serving time in the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa.

"I was never really allowed to (see my grandsons) because (Danielle) knew I wouldn't sit still while they were being mistreated," Friend said. "Now his mom (Jodi) is trying to be so strong. I put up an entire paycheck so she can come home for the funeral."

The funeral has not yet been scheduled, as an autopsy is still being conducted.

"(Collin) is still gone. I know he's in a better place, but (the arrests) don't make up for it," Friend said. "He was so adorable. No child should have to die. Especially not in that way."

According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Andrew was being held in Jackson County while Danielle was transferred into the custody of Jones County officials.

Friend said she still loves her son, despite the accusations.

"I hate to see a lot of rough things happen to my son," she said. "Yeah, we had our differences. Yeah, he did things wrong. But I don't wish the worst on him, and I still love him very much."

Nine years have passed since Jackson County saw its last first-degree murder charge. Douglas DeBruin was convicted in 2005 for the 2001 murder and dismemberment of 55-year-old Greg May.


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