Indiana County woman pleads guilty in son's drowning death

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An Indiana County woman who police said let her 13-month-old son drown in a bathtub early last year pleaded guilty today to endangering the welfare of children and involuntary manslaughter.

Tonya Thomas, 26, of White, is scheduled for a March 31 sentencing and could face up to seven years in prison.

Ms. Thomas left 13-month-old Ryden and his 2- and 3-year-old siblings alone in the bathtub Feb. 2 while she went downstairs to do laundry, text on her phone, and get snacks and medicine, Pennsylvania State Police in Indiana said at the time of her arrest.

When she returned, Ryden was face down in the water and she began CPR.

"We are pleased with the plea," Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Doughery said in a prepared statement. "We never thought that Ms. Thomas intentionally harmed her son but she was grossly negligent in leaving the children alone in the bath tub which ultimately caused the drowning death of Ryden Thomas."

In November, Ms. Thomas' husband, Wesley Thomas, 25, pleaded guilty to three counts of endangering the welfare of a child related to the incident and was sentenced to three months to two years less one day in prison and a year of probation.


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