Mother Charged After Baby Drowns While She Was On Phone

The local sheriff’s office said that a woman from Michigan was taken into custody on Thursday on felony charges related to the drowning death of her 8-month-old son last year. The incident occurred while the mother was allegedly on the phone for almost 20 minutes while the infant was left alone in the bathtub.

The 23-year-old Sparta Township, Michigan resident Olivia Miller is facing two counts concerning the drowning of Asher Johnson. The charges include involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) released a statement stating that their investigation led them to the conclusion that Miller was home alone with her infant son when he drowned and that the mother provided conflicting versions of events.

According to public records, Miller is detained at the Kent County prison on a $300,000 bail. She pled not guilty to all counts during her arraignment on Friday.

Paramedics, along with police from the Sparta Police Department (SPD) and KCSO deputies, were dispatched to a residence along 16 Mile Road in Sparta Township on November 22, 2023, in response to a complaint of an infant who had drowned in a bathtub, according to the sheriff’s office.

Miller gave varying stories of what occurred surrounding Asher’s death throughout the inquiry, according to a probable-cause document provided by KCSO Deputy Anna Birkeland.

According to the mother’s account to the investigators, she walked to the nearby laundry room and left her kid sitting up in the partially full bathtub with the water running for five minutes. The affidavit states that upon her return, Miller saw her baby floating with his face submerged.

According to the court filing, Miller stated that she attempted to revive her infant until the arrival of first responders. Investigators looked at Miller’s phone use from 3:17 p.m. until she dialed 911 at 3:38 p.m., the time frame surrounding her son’s death. The court filings indicate that her phone usage was interrupted for just 18 seconds during that duration. Miller informed the baby’s paternal grandmother twice by phone two minutes before she dialed 911 that the youngster had drowned. Per the affidavit, she sent a text message to her father saying that Asher was taking a nap. This was four minutes before dialing 911.

Seven minutes following Miller’s 911 call, the South Dakota State Police (SPD) arrived at the house and discovered the infant on the floor, face up. According to court filings, the kid was brought to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital after officers tried CPR, but he was later pronounced dead.