Image: Jerome, Idaho
Charlie Litchfield  /  AP
Bear Aragon, 12, and his sister Sage, 11, from the rural Idaho town of Jerome set out alone on this road to walk to their mother's home after their father's vehicle became stuck in a snowbank.
updated 1/23/2009 6:20:40 PM ET 2009-01-23T23:20:40

An Idaho judge dismissed charges against one of two men accused in the death of an 11-year-old girl who was allowed to walk 10 miles on a desolate road in the snow.

A judge agreed with a defense attorney Friday that Kenneth Quintana shouldn't be charged because he didn't have custody of Sage Aragon and her 12-year-old brother, Bear.

Quintana is the children's cousin. He faced the same counts as the children's father, Robert Aragon.

Aragon was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony injury to a child.

Authorities said the girl and her brother were with their father and Quintana on Dec. 25, when Aragon's car got stuck in a snow drift en route to the home of the children's mother.

In the criminal complaint, the prosecutor accuses Aragon of allowing the children to walk to their mother's home while the adults tried to dislodge the car. Officials had said temperatures in the area at the time the girl was missing ranged from 27 degrees above zero to minus 5.

Siblings separate
The children ultimately separated and never made it to their mother's house. The boy survived, but rescue crews found the girl the next day buried in snow. She was later pronounced dead, likely of hypothermia.

Aragon was being held on a $500,000 bond in the Jerome County Jail.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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