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Deputies arrest mother of toddler found dead in pool at Baton Rouge apartment complex

2 years 10 months 1 week ago Sunday, September 05 2021 Sep 5, 2021 September 05, 2021 11:00 PM September 05, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A mother is charged with negligent homicide after her toddler was found dead in the pool of a Baton Rouge apartment complex Monday night.

Kiarra Holmes, mother to 2-year-old Berkelin Scott Jr., reported her son as missing hours before he was found dead by East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's (EBRSO) deputies. The sheriff's office announced the next morning that Holmes, 30, was arrested.

“This is such a tragic loss of an innocent baby,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. “Our deputies and many others searched for hours, and we were so hopeful that he was safe somewhere. This outcome is heartbreaking. My prayers go out to family, friends and all those that loved him.”

According to arrest documents from EBRSO, Holmes and her young son occupied a second floor apartment at The Reserve at White Oak, an apartment community on South Harrell's Ferry Road off O'Neal Lane.

Holmes told deputies her young son had a tendency to wander away, even sometimes leaving their apartment. But she told authorities that either she or a companion would usually "catch him as he gets to the bottom of the stairs."

"The Accused stated it was her responsibility to watch the Victim but he has free rein of the house," deputies noted after speaking with Holmes.

Holmes told investigators she realized her child was missing from her apartment around 2 p.m., so she had her boyfriend help her search. After two hours of combing the area for him, based on what Holmes told deputies, she called authorities for help.

By that time it was just after 4 p.m., and shortly thereafter the child's body was found in a swimming pool at the complex, a short distance from Holmes' apartment. 

When EBRSO spokesperson Casey Hicks spoke with WBRZ, Hicks confirmed that residents of The Reserve told deputies the boy was often seen wandering the complex alone.  One neighbor said the 2-year-old was seen walking around the apartment complex unsupervised with another child around 10:20 a.m. Monday. 

Neighbors also told sheriff's deputies that the child recently made it all the way out to a nearby highway without supervision.

Based on their interview with Holmes, conversations with witnesses, and an assessment of the scene, deputies concluded the child died due to his mother's negligence and improper supervision. 

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