In 2010, Tommy’s 19-month-old son, Darby, and 4-year-old stepdaughter, Kiera, mysteriously died three months apart — and he says he believes his ex-wife, Julia, and her new husband, Codey, killed them. Julia and Codey — who vehemently deny any wrongdoing — face their accusers. What do they believe happened to the children?
Two Deaths, Three Months Apart
Tommy says he was married to Julia for nearly three years, and together they had a son, Darby. He says he loved Julia’s daughter, Kiera, from a previous marriage, as his own. When they split up, he says Julia moved to Montana with the children and began living with her now-husband, Codey, “almost immediately.”
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Tommy’s mother, Cheryl, says she worried about the children when they moved away, because she felt Julia seemed “distant and neglectful” as a mother. “I got the impression that she didn’t want to be a mom,” she says. “There was no connection between Darby and Julia. Darby would stay in his crib all the time.”
On June 27, 2010, Tommy says he received a phone call from his mother, saying 19-month-old Darby had died. “I didn’t want to believe it,” he says. “They did an autopsy. There was bruising on his head. He had spots of missing hair that had been pulled out. He had two broken ribs. It was an undetermined cause of death.” He continues, “I believe there was abuse and neglect.”
Tommy says Julia and Codey then moved with Kiera to Missouri, and nearly three months after Darby’s passing, he received a call saying that 4-year-old Kiera had died. “The police report said that Kiera was standing on a towel, and Codey pulled the towel out from under her, and she fell and hit her head,” he says. “They found her dead the next morning.” He continues, “I don’t believe that. You don’t get that falling from 3-feet, on a carpeted bathroom floor. I believe that she was hit, with force … I absolutely believe that they were murdered by Julia and Codey.”
Cheryl says after Kiera died, she thought Julia and Codey would be arrested. “Here we are, four years later. Two little children have died, and these two people are still walking around,” she says. “I know that Darby and Kiera died of abuse and neglect, and that is homicide.” She continues, “I am on a mission to bring justice to these children. I want truth. I want answers about what happened to my grandchildren.”
“You say that you have proof. What is your proof?” And, Tommy is questioned about his alleged violent past behavior with the family dog.
Julia and Codey vehemently deny any wrongdoing in the children’s deaths and say they’re tired of being accused by Tommy and Cheryl. Julia says she and Codey were questioned separately by police and released. “I was so mad,” she says of the interrogation. “It was horribly unfair. Innocent people have been accused of murder.” She denies that she and Codey ever hurt the children. “My children did not have abusive-type marks on their bodies. They had little nicks and bumps and mosquito bites that normal children have,” she says. “There were no cigarette burns, and I get very angry and passionate, because the thought of that happening to my daughter makes me want to punch whoever made that lie up.”
Codey says he has no history of abuse and points out that he and Julia were never charged in the children’s deaths. “That says you’re innocent in my book,” he says, adding that Tommy and Cheryl have “bullied and harassed” him and Julia online. “If there was one stitch of evidence saying that I hurt [Kiera], or that Julia hurt [Kiera], we wouldn’t even be here right now. We would be on Death Row.”
“We’re innocent, 100 percent,” Julia says.
“It’s just an ongoing nightmare — just a horrible coincidence,” Codey says of the children’s deaths. “Lightning does strike twice.”
Codey’s mother, Cindy, says that her son was living with her, along with Julia and Kiera, when Kiera passed away. She says she does not believe that the couple had anything to do with the children’s deaths. “I had questions as to how the children died, but I never questioned whether Codey and Julia had anything to do [with it], in an abusive or neglectful manner,” she says, adding that her son is not a violent person. “He has always been a peacemaker … Codey did take on Julia’s kids and was just very welcoming and very proud to be in their lives.”
Julia and Codey describe what happened when they found Darby and Kiera dead.
Julia and Codey face Tommy and Cheryl. How does Julia respond to allegations that she was a bad mother?
Cyndi explains why she doesn’t believe an autopsy was performed on Kiera.
“Why would they say they did an autopsy if they didn’t?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Because they had [Tommy and Cheryl] calling them from the very get-go, telling them that, ‘It happened once already. Put them away. Put them in jail,’” Julia responds.
The group clashes over the autopsy report. And, what is Julia’s theory about the cause of death?
Are SIDS, vomiting and vaccinations viable explanations for Kiera and Darby’s deaths? Dr. Phil seeks the medical opinion of Dr. Anna Harbison, with Doctor on Demand.
Don’t miss part 2 tomorrow, when forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht reviews the children’s autopsies — what does he conclude? And, will Julia and Codey agree to take polygraph tests?