Burke County sheriff speaks on 4-year-old’s drowning death

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - District Attorney Jared Williams says he hasn’t decided on charges in a Burke County 4-year-old’s drowning.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office decided not to press charges.

Israel “Izzy” Scott’s family said they had not heard about the decision until we told them, even though the sheriff’s office says they told the family before the public.

We spoke to the sheriff Thursday to see what’s his reasoning on no charges and where the case stands.

It’s all in the hands of the DA. Williams says once they get the case file, they’ll make sure justice is served.

Sheriff Alfonzo Williams says there is a difference between negligence and criminal negligence. He says one can be negligent, but it may not rise to the level of criminal charges, and the evidence is not there to hold the instructor criminally responsible.


“I’m still bothered by it. We’ve done everything we can to provide the family with some answers,” he said.

There are still a lot of questions surrounding the accidental drowning of Scott.

How did Izzy end up in the deep end of the pool?

“In talking to the instructor, she just doesn’t understand how the child ended up in the deep end of the pool,” said Williams. “It seems very unexplainable that nobody can explain how he got to the deep end, and that’s not an answer anyone would be prepared to accept.”

The police report says, two days after Scott died, the autopsy results showed the death was due to accidental drowning and could not determine how long he was underwater.

“Did she intend for little Izzy to die? That’s not the case,” he said.

Georgia law defines criminal negligence as an act or failure to act which demonstrates a willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the safety of others.

“The law is clear in Georgia that accident or misfortune is not a criminal act,” he said.

The DA’s office will have a panel to review the case and conduct any follow-up investigation deemed necessary before announcing any decision about charges.

“We’ve done within reason to show that we are being responsible from an investigative standpoint and that we are being transparent,” he said.

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