The mother of a Mount Airy child who drowned in a bathtub in May has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death.
Katie Eleace Rider, 24, of 234 Byerly St., was served Thursday night with a warrant on that charge and is free under a $25,000 unsecured bond, according to Mount Airy Police Department records on the case which were released Friday.
The offense stems from the May 29 death of an 11-month-old who was found floating in a bathtub at the family’s home. The baby had been in the tub with a toddler, who was a sibling, and the water nearly filled the tub, according to previous reports.
Rescue personnel tried unsuccessfully to revive the female victim, whose name has not been released. The baby likely drowned about 10 minutes before a call for help was made, officials have said.
Rider, the mother, is believed to have been busy with household chores at the time of the death, according to earlier reports. After the incident, the victim’s body was sent to Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem for an autopsy.
Lt. Paul Barker, a city police detective, said Friday that the involuntary manslaughter charge was issued against Rider after an investigation that included awaiting results of the autopsy that confirmed drowning as the cause of death.
Barker said the investigation determined that “culpable negligence” on the part of the mother was a factor in the baby’s drowning.
“The parent or adult, or whoever is in charge of the child, has responsibility for the welfare of the child,” the detective explained. “If they put the child in a position where it can be killed, if a death occurs then it fits the criteria or elements of the statute for involuntary manslaughter.”
Leaving the baby unattended in the bathtub provided the basis for that charge, according to Barker.
The city detective added that the recent tragedy offers a lesson to those caring for small kids.
“It’s important for anyone that is supervising children to make sure it is done in a proper manner,” he said. “Never leave them unattended.”
Rider is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on Sept. 4.