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Former neighbors say mother’s troubles the result of alcohol, drugs

A large and growing memorial for Caden Berry in front of the apartment where he and his mother lived off Garland Way North. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

When Jason and Katie Lawrence moved into 2660B Edison Street in Eugene in late 2011, they couldn’t help but notice the memorial hanging on the fence of their neighbor’s home in 2660A.

The memorial was for Colby Casto, the older brother of 12-year-old Caden Berry whose mother is charged with Caden’s aggravated murder in a Keizer apartment complex.

The Lawrence’s new neighbor was Amy Robertson, mother to Colby, Caden and the woman’s only remaining child Colton. Robertson’s boyfriend at the time also resided at the house. Colby had committed suicide mere weeks before the Lawrences moved in. He was 12 years old at the time.

The next year of the Lawrences’ lives proved to be tumultuous.

“The boyfriend and I would talk quite a bit, I was cool with him more so than Amy,” Jason said. “They were both abusive and I know there was alcohol and drugs in the house.”

Jason recounted a night not long after they moved in when Amy pulled into their driveway with her high beams on in the middle of the night.

“She came to the door and was asking us if we had any oxycontin,” Jason said.

Robertson was seeking to replace pills she’d taken from her mother, Katie added.

It wasn’t the only odd visit.

“She would come to our house trying to sell us electronics. She cleaned offices and I’m pretty sure she was taking them from the places she cleaned. We reported her to the company she worked for,” Katie said.

While the relationship between the two families was amicable at times, Katie said the biggest dust-up came July 4, 2012.

“Amy was out in our driveway with her sister and mom, yelling and making a lot of noise while our daughter was asleep,” Katie said. “I went out to talk with her and she got right up in my face, nose-to-nose, and threatened to beat me up.”

The situation cooled when Jason and other neighbors intervened.

“Amy ended up getting evicted because she was so loud and always trying to fight with everybody,” Katie said.

Jason said employees from the Oregon Department of Human Services made several visits to the house while the two families were neighbors. Those visits have caused him a considerable amount of heartache in the past couple of days.

“(Caden) should still have more birthdays, but now he never will because the system failed him,” Jason said.