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Prosecutor: Affton Boy's Drowning Death Caused by Stepfather's 'Criminal Conduct'

Christopher Marks' stepfather was charged with seven counts of endangering a child, avoiding more serious charges because authorities can't prove the child's blood-alcohol content, said St. Louis County Prosecuting Robert McCulloch.

  • Read our previous coverage: Stepfather Charged With Endangering Children in Meramec Drowning Death

Todd Combs was not charged with a more serious crime because authorities are unable to prove the intoxication level in 12-year-old Christopher Marks’ body, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Thursday morning.

Marks drowned Aug. 5 in the Meramec River during a group outing at Pacific Palisades Conservation Area near Eureka. The 42-year-old Combs, who is Marks' stepfather, provided alcohol for the group, which included Marks and six teens, all 15 years old.

Combs, of the of the 7800 block of LaBelle Street in Affton, was charged Wednesday with seven counts of endangering a child’s welfare. That’s one count for each underage person at the outing, including Marks.

“The death of this child is clearly caused by the criminal conduct of this individual,” McCulloch said during a news conference Thursday at the St. Louis County Justice Center.

“But we can only charge what we can prove,” he said.

Read the full story on Affton-Shrewsbury Patch.

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