Professor facing charges in drowning death of son with special needs


GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WOOD/CNN) – Michigan police arrested a community professor seven months after his son drowned in the family’s swimming pool.

Investigators aren’t saying what they think happened but the 50-year-old is facing manslaughter charges and child abuse charges.

“To say that those facts are disturbing, I think they rose to the level of criminal charges, and so did the prosecutor,” said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Captain Mark Bennett.

Disturbing details that landed a father behind bars. Seven months after his 16-year-old son with special needs drowned in the family’s backyard swimming pool.

“The victim was infatuated with water,” Bennett said.

The 911 call came in on an icy March day.

“He got caught in the middle of the pool. The cover was on, but there was quite a bit of water on top of the cover,” Bennett detailed.

When first responders arrived at the home near Hudsonville, the boy’s mom was trying to pull him out of the pool.

Hours later, the 16-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital.

News 8 asked police where the father, 50-year-old Timothy Koets, was during the drowning, but investigators remained tight-lipped due to the ongoing investigation.

Only saying it’s what Koets did, or didn’t do, leading up to the drowning that led to his arrest.

“I’m not going to get into that specific element. But at some point he was home during that day. As to what transpired and who was left in charge of the child, that’s very intricate to the criminal case,” said Bennett.

Koets is facing charges of manslaughter, second-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child and fourth-degree child abuse.

But he’s not the only family member being investigated.

Police say more charges, possibly against the victim’s mother, could be filed in the future, as they won’t close this case until there’s justice.

The victim had siblings who were home at the time of his death.

Authorities placed them in alternative care the day of the incident.

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