Tag Archives: Child Endangerment

Autistic Child Left Outside Before Death In Icy Pool

.jpg photo of autistic child left outside before death
Samuel Koets, an autistic Child that functioned as an 18-month-old, and was a nonverbal child.

Man to stand trial for Child Abuse after
son’s death

HUDSONVILLE, MI  –  The father accused of manslaughter in his son’s death was ordered Friday to stand trial for two counts of child abuse.

In a Hudsonville courtroom, Judge Judy Mulder dismissed a third count – child abuse in the presence of another child — that Timothy Koets faced.

.jpg photo of michigan autistic child in icy pool before his death
Samuel Koets, an autistic Child, in icy pool just before his death.

“(Koets’) daughter was not present when (Samuel Koets) was left on the porch,” Mulder said in court Friday afternoon.  “So the acts the defendant did to commit the child abuse in this case — the act of leaving his child alone on the porch unsupervised — was not done in the present of a child.  It’s very unfortunate that his daughter had to find her brother alone in the pool in the way she did, but the act of child abuse ….  was not done with the other child present so I am not able to find that there’s probably cause to bind over on count 3.”

Mulder did, however, bound Tim Koets over on two child abuse counts, one of which is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

“The facts presented that supported this at the time of the preliminary examination were that Samuel was left on a porch unattended, that the defendant did not assure that his wife was awake to care for Samuel,” said Mulder from the bench.

“There was some testimony that he awoke her.  There was also some competing testimony that he texted his daughter during the course of the time he was gone indicating that he thought his wife was sleeping.  I’m paraphrasing… but that’s how those texts read.  There was also testimony that Samuel Koets functioned as an 18-month-old, that he was a nonverbal child and that he was attracted to water.  So … a reasonable jury listening to those facts could find that this was a reckless act that caused a serious injury to his son, Samuel.  So, therefore I’m going to bind it over on count 2 (felony child abuse in the second degree).”

Mulder previously ordered Tim Koets to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of his son Sam, 16, who had autism.

Sam drowned after climbing into the backyard pool at the family’s home near Hudsonville.  Authorities say his father, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, left him unattended when he went to work on March 28, 2019.  When one of his daughters texted him that Sam was in the icy pool, he allegedly texted back, “would you make sure the freak is OK?”

Koets and his wife Michelle Koets told “Inside Edition” in an interview that aired earlier this week that he woke his wife up before he left for work but she fell back asleep.

“It is not a reckless act for one parent to leave a child in the care of another parent,” Koets’ attorney argued Friday before his client was bound over.  “He woke his wife up.  He thought she was awake.”

In the “Inside Edition” interview, the Koetses rejected the notion that Tim Koets was negligent or uncaring.  But investigators told News 8 that Sam Koets was also living in “disturbing” conditions before the drowning.

Outside the courtroom Friday, Koets’ attorney said while he knew Michelle Koets and a daughter had been contacted by “Inside Edition” and might do an interview, he did not know beforehand that Tim Koets would participate in the story.

“Had a discussion with my client and that will not be occurring again,” defense attorney David Kallman said.

Also Friday, both Tim and Michelle Koets were arraigned on charges that they kept filling their son’s Ritalin prescription for months after he died.  Authorities say they were taking the drugs themselves.

Is Your Baby In Danger?

.jpg photo of the executive director of Kids in Danger
Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger.

Recalled Sleepers Linked To Infant Deaths Are Still Being Used in Daycare Centers

Earlier this year, Fischer-Price issued a recall of nearly five million Rock ‘n Play sleepers after the popular product was linked to at least 30 infant deaths.  Not long after, Kids II recalled 700,000 of its own inclined sleepers due to similar concerns.

Several months later, one mom was shocked to find that these dangerous sleepers are still being used in some daycare centers, which could be putting their kids at risk.

Sarah Landis, a mom from Philadelphia, told Consumer Reports that in June, she came to her one-year-old son’s daycare and discovered that a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was in the infant facility room.  Landis told her husband, Adam Garber, who works in product safety.  Garber gave the daycare a call to see if they were aware of the recall.

“Our daycare provider, who cares deeply about the kids, was really confused,” says Garber.  “She said she thought there had only been a warning about the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and that as long as the product was properly used, and babies were buckled in, it would be fine.”

Garber informed the daycare director that a full recall had been issued, something that the director says they were never informed about the extent of the recall and so they believed they were not putting children in danger by keeping theirs.  William Wallace, the manager of home and safety policy for Consumer Reports, says that this can be common if companies give mixed messaging about a recall.

“Recalls don’t work well unless people get a clear and consistent message.  And they especially don’t work well if manufacturers and the government fail to fully warn people about the risks of a product,” Wallace explained.

Fortunately, in this case, no infants were harmed as a result of the sleeper but considering the popularity of these products, it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t still daycare centers that are unknowingly using a product that has been proven to be dangerous.

What can you do if you are a parent who is unsure if your kid’s daycare is using one of these items?  Garber says the most effective thing you can do is reach out.

“One of the things we’re telling folks is to just go in and ask what the center’s plan is to check for and remove recalled products—and then ask about specific products,” Garber says.

Ben Hoffman, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatric’s Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention’s executive committee, agrees, adding that the safest thing for parents is to ensure that no inclined sleepers are being used.

“I would encourage parents to talk to day care providers and make sure their babies are put to sleep in a safe way, and not in a recalled product—but ideally not in any inclined sleeper,” Hoffman says.

VA Woman Parties, Baby Alone 15 Hours In Crib

.jpg photo of mother who did drugs for 15 hours without checking on baby in crib
Christan P. Haynes, 19

Waynesboro woman did drugs prior to baby being found dead

WAYNESBORO, VA  –  The case of a Waynesboro woman whose baby was found dead last year concluded Wednesday with a conviction.

Christian P. Haynes, 19, is facing the possibility of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Waynesboro Circuit Court to a felony charge of child abuse.

Zayden Haynes, just 7 months old, was found dead March 3, 2018, after his mother neglected to check on him for 15 hours, according to Waynesboro assistant prosecutor Elysse Stolpe.

The baby was placed in a crib with an adult blanket, an adult pillow and had a bottle propped up onto his mouth when Haynes last saw him the night before at 11 p.m., Stolpe said.

The next day at 11 a.m., Haynes heard the baby crying but opted to let him “cry it out, even though she hadn’t checked on him for about 12 hours,” according to Stolpe.

Three hours later, Haynes, 18 years old at the time, woke up shortly after 2 p.m. and posted a selfie online.  Five minutes after that a 911 call was placed when the baby was found unresponsive.

Stolpe said Haynes began smoking meth three days prior to the boy’s death, which kept her awake for days.  The prosecutor said Haynes was tired and “coming down off that high” when she failed to properly care for her child.

A search of Haynes’ residence revealed there was methamphetamine and marijuana in the home.  A smoking device was found near the child’s crib and another one was discovered next to his playpen in another room, Stolpe said.  Haynes also admitted to sometimes smoking meth inside a closet in the baby’s room.

Stolpe said a drug screen done at the home by an Augusta County Child Protective Services employee showed Haynes had meth and marijuana in her system.

“This underscores that drugs aren’t just a victimless crime,” Stolpe said.  “A child is dead because his mother was too busy getting high and then sleeping it off.”

Stolpe said the Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office considered a more serious homicide charge, but said an autopsy was inconclusive in determining if the baby suffocated to death.  “Sudden unexplained infant death associated with unsafe bedding” was listed as the cause of death, according to Stolpe.

Following her guilty plea, Haynes, who has no prior criminal record, was allowed to remain free on bond.

She will be sentenced July 3.

Our Heroes Should Be Focused On Job

.jpg photo of Bald Eagle Challenger visiting Nellis AFB
Bald Eagle Challenger visiting Nellis AFB

Army Secretary apologizes to military
families living in dangerous housing
conditions

The Pentagon  –  Secretary of the Army Mark Esper on Friday apologized to thousands of families living in dangerous conditions in military housing, which has long been maintained not by the military but by private contractors.

Families like that of Jana Wanner, who testified before Congress Wednesday.

“Mold was growing out of the wall of our shower,” Wanner said.  “They told us, and this is a direct quote, let the mold just fall out.”

Other major problems:  lead in the water, asbestos, leaking ceilings, roaches, mice and rats.

“I am infuriated by what I’m hearing today,” said Sen. Martha McSally.  “This is disgusting.”

Esper said he wants to renegotiate contracts with property management companies to give tenants more power, including “a clear bill of rights for our families — for our soldiers and our families.”

“So they know what they can do what their rights are that they can bring to the chain of command if they feel that the contractors are not meeting their needs,” Esper said.

One change would hit those companies right where it hurts.

“If a family isn’t getting the service they want then I think they should have the ability to withhold their basic allowance for housing payments,” Esper said.

Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey worries contractors’ neglect could affect recruiting and mission success.  If soldiers are worried about how their family is surviving in the U.S. with mold and rats, how can they do their job overseas?

“We need our soldiers focused on doing their job fighting and winning our nation’s wars,” Dailey said.

Wanner, whose family lives at Fort Meade in Maryland, is encouraged by the new focus on military housing conditions but worries if it will last.

“I don’t want the steam to be lost and I want to keep moving forward and I want that change made and I want families to be heard,” Wanner said.

Just four years ago, the Pentagon investigated military family housing and found “pervasive health and safety hazards” — but the conditions continued to fester.  CBS News asked Esper if that might happen again, and he said no.  This time, he vowed, “we’re going to get it right.”

Military Families Testify About Housing Conditions

Military families testify about ‘slum-like’
conditions in some private housing facilities

Feb. 13, 2019 – 3:48 – Shepard Smith, Fox News

Survey:  Conditions at Private Military Housing Facilities are not unique to specific companies.

Some military families find mold, lead paint, rats and roaches in privatized base housing.

The Families testified that some private based housing done by contractors, is full of lead, mold, rats and roaches.

That’s according to a survey by a non-profit Family advisory network.

A Family in Maryland that participated in that survey say a rainstorm caused flooding and that exposed Lead paint that made them sick.

They reached out to the Housing Company, Corvias.

A spokesman said Providing housing for our armed service members is a privilege and Corvias is making change necessary to meet the “gold standard” level of service both we and our residents expect.

Military Families haven’t gotten gold level service.

Some Military Families are testifying about their experiences; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon.

MILITARY HOUSING SURVEY

More than half (55.53%) of respondents had a negative or very negative experience with privatized military housing.

Military Family Advisory Network