Near drowning in New Madrid
By CJ Cassidy
New Madrid, MO - New details on a story we first brought you on Heartland News at Five.
A nine-month-old baby boy flown to a St. Louis hospital clings to life this evening, after a near drowning in a bathtub at his New Madrid home.
Police say the young mother asked her one-and-a-half year old to keep an eye on the baby while she ran outside.
The problem; she left them sitting in the tub: a decision, neighbors say led to a nightmare that hasn't ended yet.
"I don't see what was on her mind to leave them in the tub. I can't get that out of my mind. I couldn't hardly rest last night thinking of that baby," Renet William says. She was with her grandson, when her neighbor came rushing out carrying nine-month-old Cordez Williams' lifeless body in her arms.
"She fell right there and he grabbed the baby, and worked on the baby, and we couldn't get her to stop hollering," she recalls.
Police say it all took place in the time it took the young woman to walk from her home to the bus stop to pick up her other two kids. That's about a 70 yard distance, and while we don't know exactly how long it took Annie Betts to walk back inside, investigators say it all happened in just a matter of minutes.
"She did remove the plug from the bathtub. You can't just assume things are going to go as they should. It doesn't always work like that," Sheriff Terry Stevens points out. He says Betts found the stopper back in place when she came in.
Renet William says the 21-year-old single parent often worked around the clock, and depended on her mother, to help raise her four children.
"She always took care of her kids. They were always neat and clean," she says.
Now William wishes she could turn back time, and share her experience after years of raising kids, with the young mother next door.
"You can't help but pray for that baby," William says.
Police are treating this incident as a criminal investigation, but so far do not know if prosecutors will end up filing any charges.
They just want people to understand how life changing a few minutes can be, and ask you always think before you act, especially when it involves young children.