By SUSAN CARTER
Hazel Gordon, mother of Howard Cole, a man being held at New River Regional Jail on child abuse charges, and father of Cory Cole, the infant found buried in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Draper, sadly offered a look at the son she raised and how she thinks of the baby constantly – morning, noon and night – and nearly every moment between. “It is a nightmare I can’t wake from,” Gordon said.
“I never got to hold Cory; I have been taking care of my seriously ill father for some time, but I called often and was aware of problems in the relationship,” Gordon said. Gordon said Warden came to her wanting to know how to tell her other children that Cole had (allegedly) killed Cory. Gordon said she advised Warden to “just tell them he was in heaven and they would see him again one day.”
According to Gordon, Cole was always protective while growing up, especially with his brothers, and she said as he grew into a teenager they had differences in opinion, but “Cole never showed violence toward me. As Cole aged, I do know that when he drank he became very mouthy,” Gordon added. “I told him more than once to stop drinking.”
When asked if she knew Cole was being physically abusive, Gordon said, “One night (Cole) called me very upset because he and Samantha had been arguing. Samantha used the car keys and raked his face and body with them, leaving cuts and scratches over the front of his body. I asked him to come home.”
“Another night I got a call from Samantha, yelling at me to pick my son up or she would get him locked up,” said Gordon. “I told her to take him to any shelter and I would pick him up the next morning.”
When asked if she knew when Cole left the home with the baby, Gordon said she received a phone call from Warden on Tuesday asking if she had seen Cole or baby Cory. There was no conversation regarding abuse of the baby. Later Gordon learned Warden called her other son’s girlfriend and told her if she saw Cole to grab the baby and run. The family was confused because, in their opinions, Warden knew if the baby was with them it would be safe and loved. Gordon said there was no talk of a previous argument and that the Gordon family had been looking forward to seeing baby Cory.
“Cole is passive and is a follower,” said Gordon. “He has always loved being around people and children. I have many photos with him playing with all of the children in the family. I just cannot believe anything would have pushed him to taking his child’s life.”
When asked if she had spoken to Cole since the arrest, she said he has called, crying, missing his children, and crying for Cory. He ended the call by saying “he wished he just would have come home.”
“Often I think of just cuddling with Cory and keeping him safe in my arms. I loved him and my life is changed forever,” said Gordon. “I never ever thought I would bury my grandchild. I feel cheated and so sad and sick.”
In closing, Gordon was asked if there was anything else she wanted to share and she said that Bower Funeral Home was so respectful and pleasant with her and most folks were nice. “One person yelled out ‘that guy is going to get what he deserves’ and I hated that Samantha invited the press and posed for photos at the casket. It broke my heart,” said Gordon.