A mother from Texas is facing accusations of negligence, as witnesses claim she allowed her three-year-old son to drown at a water park while allegedly being preoccupied with her phone and singing along to music, witnesses told police. Anthony Leo Malave, 3, died on May 13 after being discovered unresponsive in a four-foot pool at Camp Cohen Water Park in El Paso, Texas.
Jessica Weaver, the 35-year-old mother of the boy, has been accused of negligence in connection with the drowning incident. She was arrested on August 30 and charged with injury to a child by omission. Seven witnesses revealed the concerning behavior of a woman resembling Weaver on the day Anthony tragically died.
The witnesses described the negligent and preventable nature of the incident in a police report obtained by KFOX. Witness one stated that a woman resembling Weaver was seen using her phone while seated outside of a pool for more than an hour.
They further noted that the person "never glanced up or paid attention to anything."
Two witnesses claimed to have seen the boy alone, and they also claimed to have seen Weaver singing along on her phone for around seven minutes before the young child was retrieved from the water.
Another witness said: "A woman matching Weaver's description that day, encouraged the toddler to go into the pool before walking away and leaving the boy by himself."
The same witness added that once the lifeguards blew the whistle for everyone to exit, "Weaver took five minutes to run to the pool."
One witness told police that they thought "Weaver was in the water park by herself" because they hadn't seen her with a youngster when the tragic drowning was taking place.
"Weaver did not immediately react to the situation and was surprised to learn that she was the mother of the drowning child when Weaver jumped in the water."
Unlike a Mother
Additional damning allegations were made against the Texas mother. One witness reported seeing two three-year-olds swimming without supervision and without life vests, highlighting that the life vests were available for free use.
Another witness questioned Weaver's indifferent parenting approach, recounting an incident where her son was spitting chips into the pool, but the mother seemed too engrossed in her phone to notice or intervene.
According to the arrest report, this concerned witness called the police and filed a report regarding Weaver's apparent disregard for her child's safety while at the water park that day.
The police document also noted that the water park's capacity was 1,460, and on that day, there were approximately only 466 people present. It was also mentioned that life vests were available, underscoring the preventable nature of the tragedy.
Weaver's legal counsel Ryan MacLeod earlier shirked blame saying that the city was "more concerned with filling the park for a soft opening than safety," Fox News reported.
During a press conference, El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks faced criticism from MacLeod, who labeled the event as a "political stunt." Hicks had stated, "a lifeguard is not a babysitter," emphasizing a viewpoint that stirred controversy and disagreement.
"They're a last resort in hopefully saving a life," Hick's said in a press conference at the time of the arrest.
MacLeod believes that the city is pursuing legal action against Weaver in retaliation for her filing a lawsuit against the city. He further asserted that the District Attorney should focus on pursuing charges against the 17 lifeguards on duty that day rather than targeting Weaver.