State police in Indiana County charged a woman with homicide late Tuesday after her 13-month-old son drowned earlier this month in the bathtub.
A police investigation showed Tonya Thomas, 25, of White repeatedly left her children unsupervised, including the night of Feb. 2 when she left son Ryden alone in a second-floor tub with his 2- and 3-year-old siblings. Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said Ms. Thomas left the bathroom that night to go downstairs to do laundry, text on her phone, get snacks and medicine for a period of time before discovering the boy facedown in the water.
She performed CPR on the child, and paramedics took him to Indiana Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
"This was not a matter of going down the hallway to get a towel or shampoo or soap and going right back in," Mr. Dougherty said. "Through our investigation we found this was essentially the mom using the bathtub as supervision device. It became very clear she was relying on her 3-year-old daughter to be the supervisor."
The boy's father, Wesley Thomas, 24, was in a closed bedroom playing a video game during the drowning. He was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children. His wife was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children.
The couple had been interacting with the county's Children & Youth Services department for the past year, Mr. Dougherty said.
"It was very clear this wasn't an isolated thing. It happened many times, and there was a pattern of behavior," he said.
Both parents were being held in the Indiana County Jail. Their preliminary hearings are set for Monday morning before District Judge Susanne Steffee of Homer City.
Tim McNulty: email@example.com or 412-263-1581.