No decision made on charges in boy’s drowning, DA says
WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - District Attorney Jared Williams says no decision has been made on whether to file charges in the death of a 4-year-old who drowned in Burke County on his second day of swimming lessons.
Williams said early Thursday afternoon that his office hadn’t received the completed case file regarding the investigation into Israel Scott’s death in June.
“Because of that fact, there has been no charging decision made by our office,” Williams said in a statement.
Williams said he expected to receive the full file Thursday afternoon.
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office released its report to the public on Wednesday, stating that the case lacks sufficient evidence to prove criminal negligence.
Regardless of what the sheriff’s agency says, Williams said it’s his decision on whether to pursue charges.
“The decision on any potential charges will be made independently of any other agency,” Williams said. “That is what justice demands, and what this family and community deserve.”
Williams said once his agency receives the report, he’ll convene a panel to review it. The panel will include him, the deputy chief of special victims, deputy chief of operations and chief assistant district attorney.
He said his investigative team would conduct any follow-up investigation that may be necessary.
At the conclusion of the panel’s review, the district attorney said he would announce a decision.
“It is our job to remove emotion and external pressure from this decision and analyze the law and the facts of the case fairly,” he said. “Integrity, Fairness, and Justice are our office’s guiding principles, and that will remain true throughout this independent review.”
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According to the incident report from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the agency and emergency medical crews responded on June 14 to 113 Deer Run Road in reference to the possible drowning of a child.
Scott was among nine other children attending swimming lessons provided by Lexie Tenhuisen.
Near the end of the lesson, Scott got into the deep water of the pool undetected. Tenhusien’s granddaughter noticed him in the pool and notified Tenhusien. She had just gotten out of the pool with the children to dry off after the last child’s swimming relay, according to officials.
Tenhuisen immediately jumped back into the pool to rescue Scott. That is when a parent, a registered nurse, began CPR and continued until emergency medical crews arrived and took over.
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division was also notified and responded to the scene.
Scott was transported by ambulance to the Burke Health hospital.
Clarence Belger, the Burke Health emergency management coordinator, stated Scott was in critical condition and needed to go to Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. This is where he passed away, according to officials.
The autopsy concluded Scott`s death was a result of accidental drowning and that no foul play was suspected or indicated.
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