In a recent interview in an undisclosed location Samantha Warden, 29-year-old mother of Cory Cole, the infant whose body was found in a wooded section of Draper Thursday night buried in a shallow grave, according to Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche, spoke quietly about her son. Warden recalled moments in Cory’s brief life saying he was “amazing … he never cried unless he was hungry or needed a diaper change.” Warden said Cory was always smiling, even when he was sick.
Cory, or “Chunkabutt,” as his mother affectionately called him, was Warden’s fourth child. One was a son who passed away at the early age of four months and 19 days. Warden said his death was a result of complications after his second heart surgery and that the baby, Clayford “Clay-Clay,” passed away at UVA hospital. Warden also has two daughters, Caylee, age six, and Hailey, three, who is also the daughter of Howard Samuel Cole. Warden said Cole had never hurt any of the other children.
Although Warden claims to have reported Cole to social services several times for abusive behavior towards the children, and also to the police claiming he abused her while she was pregnant with Cory, when asked if she would believe Cole could kill her son she said, “No.” She claimed he was simply a different person when he drank and that he promised to stop drinking, but never did. “When Cory was 10 days old Cole took off and stayed gone” for two or three weeks and “was gone getting high,” alleges Warden, who took the interview as an opportunity to warn other women to get out of abusive relationships.
Warden said Cory was supposed to be with Cole at the time he went missing. She said she left the house on Monday night to spend time with her uncle, C.J. Eaton, and current boyfriend, Mike Altizer. Warden said Cole, whom she was living with at the time, along with baby Cory and her brother and his family, “didn’t know for a fact” that she was dating someone.
When asked what she would like to tell everyone more than anything, Warden said, “People keep asking me why he did it. I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know why anybody would do that to a child.” (Cole has not been charged in connection with the baby’s death.)
As the interview came to a close, Warden, who appeared exhausted, said, “I would never ever harm a child. This is all too much. I just want to hold Cory in my arms.”
A candlelight vigil was held last night at the site where Cory’s body was found. Friends, family and members of the community came out to honor Cory’s memory by leaving flowers and stuffed animals at the site and releasing balloons into the sky at the end of the service.
Cory’s funeral is being handled by Bower Funeral Home, Pulaski, and Warden says it will be open to the public because she “know(s) how much this has touched the community.” The funeral expenses have been taken care of, but Warden would love to be able to provide her son with a headstone.
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