'Cabin baby' couple arrested on felony counts

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By Stephen Knapp

After a story about the travails of Greg and Summer Leon in last week’s Canyon Courier, offers to assist the young couple — financially and otherwise — flooded in from around the mountain area. While that charitable impulse is both understandable and laudable, in this case it may be misplaced.

About the same time that the Leons’ harrowing story was being prepared for publication, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office were arresting the pair of 24-year-olds in connection with a long list of crimes ranging from possession of drug paraphernalia to first-degree arson. And while their tale of delivering their daughter, Grace, in a waterless Kerr Gulch cabin without assistance still appears to be perfectly true, what is now coming to light concerning the Leons’ broader story is turning out to be far deeper, much darker, and infinitely worse than a case of disadvantaged young parents losing their children to foster care. Rather than Mary and Joseph, the pair could have a lot more in common with Bonnie and Clyde.

“These are extremely shady, spooky, scary people,” says Jackie Kelley, a sheriff’s spokeswoman. “We’re in the middle of filing cases against them on a number of crimes.”

Summer, listed as Summer Lynn Baker in official records, uses both surnames. She faces three felony charges of theft from an at-risk adult, aggravated motor vehicle theft and giving false information to a pawnbroker, plus a misdemeanor charge of theft under $500. She is currently free on bond.

Gregory Leon remains locked up in the Jefferson County Jail and is scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 10. In addition to the same charges lodged against his partner, Leon also faces felony counts of first-degree arson, criminal mischief with damage over $20,000, second-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence and violation of bail bond conditions. He’s also charged with misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, a petty offense.

The most serious of Leon’s offenses stem from an Armadillo Trail house fire that occurred on the evening of Oct. 15, and that investigators quickly determined was intentionally set. As it happened, the home’s owners returned from 10 days in Mexico just in time to see their house burning. Their two pet cats died in the blaze.

According to the sheriff’s affidavit, the fire began in the linen-storage area and was initially fueled by three bottles of liquor. It may have been set to disguise the theft of more than $138,000 worth of jewelry and a 1998 Audi sedan. The car later turned up abandoned in Genesee Park and may require more than $4,000 in repairs. It appears the vehicle ran out of gas and much of the damage was done afterward out of pure pique.

In their absence, the homeowners had engaged their cleaning woman, Kimberly Mabra, to house-sit.

“Kim has watched our house four or five times before, and she’s a really sweet person,” says the homeowner, who prefers not to be identified. “She’s just one of those really caring people who’ll do anything to help people.”

Unfortunately, Mabra had chosen to help Leon and Baker by letting them stay at her Kerr Gulch cabin. In speaking with investigators, Mabra referred to Baker as her “adopted daughter.”

“They were both homeless and living on the streets,” Mabra told officers. “When they walked into the shelter, I felt bad for them, so I had them move in with me until they could get back on their feet.”

Mabra admitted allowing her “adopted daughter” to stay alone at the Armadillo Trail address. She’d also allowed Baker to work with her cleaning numerous homes around the mountain area.

“(The perpetrator) apparently got into our house using our hide-a-key, and she probably knows how Kim gets into a lot of houses in this area,” said the homeowner, who expects that damages to the house will run into the hundreds of thousands. “If they hadn’t set fire to the house, it might have been months before we realized they’d stolen that jewelry. There could be a lot of people in this area who’ve been robbed ee and just don’t know it yet.

“People who’ve hired Kim to clean their houses need to be cautious.”

On Oct. 30, detectives tied Baker and Leon to several items of jewelry in hock at EZPawn on West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, and the homeowners’ identified them as among those stolen from their home. Just before that discovery, Leon had called the shop asking if any of the jewelry had been sold, as he had others he wished to pawn.

Officers arrested Baker and Leon at gunpoint at the Kerr Gulch cabin — after several tense moments when the couple allegedly tried to flee.

Baker is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 28, Leon on Dec. 11. Both newborn Grace and her 1-year-old son, Manny, will remain with the Jefferson County Health and Human Services for the foreseeable future.

“We’re expecting more charges to be filed against both of them,” Kelley says.