Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parents of Children who Drowned Arrested

The parents of two children who were found dead in a neighbor's swimming pool in Jacksonville, FL last month have been arrested in connection with their drownings and have told police they had left the two alone before.

They turned themselves in to police with their attorney this morning around 9 and remain in jail on $50,000 bond each.

According to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) report, the mother left her children unattended at home around 6:35 p.m. to go to work. She had called her husband, who was at work, and he told her he was leaving his job to come home and be with the two children, police said.

But, the report said, he did not leave his job and offered alternate stories about where he was. First, he said his car broke down, then later said he stayed at work to get "more hours" of pay.

He admitted that he and his wife had left their children alone on other occasions.

The owner of the home where the children were found in the pool said he was not at home at the time of the drownings, but had left the pool gate around the pool latched from inside the yard, the police report said. The owner found a wooden stepladder, which was not his, outside the gate. Another neighbor said the children had been outdoors playing with the ladder the day they died.

The State Attorney's Office released a statement today explaining their rationale for the charges:

"Parents and caregivers owe a special duty to provide their children with the supervision and care necessary for those dependent upon them. When parents and caregivers fail in that obligation, it is the duty of law enforcement to investigate and charge those responsible. We are mindful of the great loss these parents have suffered, but the facts and circumstances of this case demand the filing of criminal charges.

Parental responsibility for the safety and supervision of their children has, and will remain, a bedrock principle of the State's Attorney Office."

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