Parents charged in 2-year-old's drowning in Dearborn

Both charged with second-degree murder, other charges

By John Steckroth - Editor

DEARBORN, Mich. - The parents of a 2-year-old girl who died after falling into a neighbor’s pool in Dearborn were charged with second-degree murder.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office authorized charges for the parents on Thursday.

James Johnson III and Amber Johnson were charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse. The judge explained the charge of second-degree murder as "a death caused by reckless disregard for human life."

The parents were taken into custody without incident.

"The alleged actions and inactions of the defendants in this case defy common sense," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. "Once again we are left with a child, whose death was completely preventable."

They were arraigned Friday in the 19th District Court. Bond was set at $1 million each. 

A probable cause conference is set for June 24.

What happened

The toddler drowned on Boldt Street in Dearborn last Friday afternoon.

A neighbor noticed the girl in their swimming pool and pulled her from the water. She was unresponsive and the homeowner performed CPR. The girl was rushed to the hospital.

She died the next day.

According to the preliminary investigation, the girl and her 3-year-old brother exited their home while their parents were sleeping and climbed a chain link fence to gain access to the neighbor’s yard.

“This is a tragic situation for all the families involved,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said.

Neighbors say kids escaped home often

Neighbors in the area say police have been to the girl’s home before and the kids are often found wandering the neighborhood.

“Those kids seem to be escape artists, but I think they’re just negligent parents who are sleeping all the time,” neighbor Vincent Laing said.

Police confirmed that child protective services had been involved at some point.

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