Man to stand trial for Child Abuse after
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.
“(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).”
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.
Daycare worker arrested, charged with
2 counts of aggravated Child Abuse
BRANDON, FL – A daycare worker in Brandon was arrested on Friday for two counts of aggravated child abuse, officials say.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say on Dec. 18, the parents of an infant took their child to the pediatrician when the baby turned pale in color and began throwing up. The baby spent the say attending Shepherd Day Care at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.
The infant was in the sole care and custody of 20-year-old Sarah Loria at the daycare.
The pediatrician initially diagnosed the baby with a stomach virus.
On Dec. 20, when Loria was caring for the baby, the infant became unresponsive. Loria then contacted the parent’s who transported the baby to a local hosital.
After an evaluation, it was confirmed that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome from both incidents.
On Friday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested Loria for two counts of aggravated child abuse.
She was transported to the Orient Road Jail without incident.
Battle Creek stepmother charged with
Child Abuse of twin girls
BATTLE CREEK, MI – A Battle Creek stepmother is facing up to life in prison if convicted of child abuse of twin sisters.
Ashley Swartout, 25, was arraigned Thursday in Calhoun County District Court on one count of first-degree child abuse and one count of second-degree child abuse.
She faces up to life in prison on the first-degree charge and 10 years in prison on the second-degree charge.
Swartout was arrested Monday after Battle Creek police obtained a warrant following an investigation which began Dec. 16.
Police said Swartout and her husband, Nathaniel Callahan, 28, the father of the twin seven-year-old girls, brought one of the children to Bronson Battle Creek hospital at 9:49 p.m. Dec. 16 for treatment.
Doctors notified police after finding severe bruising and swelling to both sides of the girl’s face as well as bruises on her arms, front and back of her torso and a bloody lower lip.
The girl said her stepmother was angry because the child was not doing her chores and grabbed her by the hair and banged her head against the walls and floor. The girl said the woman also twisted her arm behind her back and told the girl she would break it.
Swartout told police she has seizures and does not recall the incident. She said she remembers being angry at the girl about homework and chores but blacked out and remembers nothing until she was on the bathroom floor and her husband was over her.
Callahan told police his wife has a long history of seizures and doctors have been unable to diagnose the cause. She is not able to have a driver’s license because of the condition.
However the girl said her stepmother was talking to her when the reported assault first began and then had a seizure and began to throw up.
Callahan came home from work and both he and Swarthout took the girl to the hospital.
SHALER TOWNSHIP, PA – A Shaler Township mother is facing felony charges for allegedly abusing her child in “one of the most violent cases” Children’s Hospital doctors have seen.
Katie Easley is now facing charges alongside father Jamie Easley for the alleged abuse of their newborn daughter, who was admitted to UPMC Children’s Hospital with severe injuries in September.
According to police, the 4-week-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital after her primary care doctor found multiple bruises on her face and abdomen.
The child’s mother allegedly told the doctor the little girl had not eaten in nearly two days.
At the hospital, doctors found the girl had skull fractures, subdural hemorrhages, 19 rib fractures and other fractures to her left arm and her legs. She was admitted in critical condition to the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
According to the criminal complaint, Jamie told investigators during a police interview that the baby’s older sibling pulled her off a bed. However, doctors said a fall from a bed would not cause the kind of injuries she had.
Police say Jamie later told them he grabbed the baby girl by the arm while she was crying, held her up, squeezed her and gave her “a quick shake.” Soon after, the baby stopped crying.
Now, police are charging Katie with a felony endangering the welfare of children. The criminal complaint accuses Katie of not taking her critically injured baby to the hospital until the 31-day-old newborn stopped eating all together.
It also says detectives later searched Katie’s phone history and allegedly found Google searches from earlier in the month including “bruising on baby” and “why isn’t my baby eating?”
Police say Children’s Hospital doctors said “given the age of the victim, it was one of the most violent cases of child abuse they have seen, bone in arm completely snapped in half, and the worst rib fractures they have seen.”
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports charges against Jamie still stand. Katie was released on non-monetary bond and is slated to go before the judge for her preliminary hearing on Dec. 19.