Stepfather Charged With Endangering Children in Meramec Drowning Death

St. Louis County Police said he provided alcohol to 12-year-old Christopher Marks before his drowning death as well as six other children.

Todd Combs, stepfather of Christopher Marks—the 12-year-old who drowned in the Meramec River eariler this summer—was charged for providing alcohol to his stepson and six other minors during an Aug. 5 outing on the Meramec River.

The disappearance of 12-year-old Christopher touched off an intensive search that included dive teams.

Combs, 42, of the 7800 block of LaBelle Street in Affton, was charged Wednesday with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

St. Louis County Police said he provided alcohol to seven children under the age of 17 during the outing at Pacific Palisades Conservation Area. Some children on the outing, which was supervised only by Combs, were younger than Christopher Marks.

St. Louis County prosecuting attorney charges indicate Combs “encouraged, aided and caused” the children to drink alcohol.

Combs also found Christopher’s body Aug. 7 near the Allenton access point, about six miles downriver from where the boy was last seen playing on a rope swing.

Combs had several other alcohol-related charges on his record:

  • 1992 - Pleaded guilty to DWI, received two years supervised probation, successfully completed in 1994.
  • 1997 - Pleaded guilty to DWI as prior offender, received a suspended imposition of sentence placed on two years supervised probation, successfully completed.
  • 1999 - Pleaded guilty to DWI as persistent offender, sentenced to five years in prison, received a suspended execution of sentence and placed on five years probation. His probation was revoked and he served five years in prison and was released in 2004.
  • Refused breathalyzer tests during traffic stops in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2011. Two charges were dismissed and he won judgment in 1999. In 2011, the court denied his driving privileges for denying the breathalyzer.

Eureka-Wildwood Patch Julie Brown Patton contributed to this article.

john doe September 28, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Who is this guy going to hurt , mame or kill next. I do not understand how a repeat offender continues to be on the streets after so many alcohol related crimes. There is something terribly wrong here even after a five year prison term this guy continues to abuse alcohol. Who will be to blame for the next death this clown causes, I think we all know the answer to that question. Think if this were your 12 year old son or daughter that was lost because this guy can't or won't set the bottle down, WHAT A SHAME !!!!!!!!
Alexandria Hamilton October 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I second that comment. This is absolutely ridiculous that he goes free and the mother sits by and defends this abusive alcoholic. Nobody is going to assist in taking this man off the streets. Hasn't it already been proven that he is a danger to society? How far does it have to escalate?


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