A 20-year-old mother from South Dakota could potentially serve a prison sentence of up to ten years due to the tragic incident in which her 2-month-old baby drowned.
This occurred when she left the infant unattended in the bath for nearly 10 minutes earlier this year as per Law and Crime report on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
Ashlynn Swenson-Marshall made a court appearance in Minnehaha District Court last week, where she officially entered a guilty plea for one count of felony second-degree manslaughter.
This plea was related to the “reckless killing” of her child, as reported by the Mitchell Republic.
On July 20, 2023, authorities from the Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue were dispatched to a residence in the 3600 block of North Career Avenue in response to an emergency call about an infant in cardiac arrest, as previously documented by the newspaper.
When they arrived, first responders observed Swenson-Marshall in a distressed state, showing visible signs of shaking, crying, and rapid breathing.
The individual, referred to as L.W. in court records, was discovered in the home’s bathroom and promptly transported to a nearby hospital via an ambulance for necessary medical care.
Regrettably, the infant was removed from life support and declared deceased after a three-day period.
According to a subsequent autopsy, the cause of L.W.’s demise was identified as anoxic brain injury resulting from drowning.
During her initial interview with the police, Swenson-Marshall allegedly stated that she was bathing both the victim and her other child simultaneously.
She explained that she briefly diverted her attention to the other child, inadvertently allowing L.W. to be submerged underwater for as long as 10 seconds.
At that moment, her sister-in-law entered the bathroom and initiated CPR on the victim while simultaneously reaching out to the authorities for assistance.
Nevertheless, as the investigators delved deeper into the details surrounding L.W.’s tragic passing, they discovered inconsistencies in Swenson-Marshall’s account of events.
The 15-year-old informed investigators that he was experiencing problems with his pay stub. Swenson-Marshall exited the bathroom and then helped him resolve the issue in the living room.
By examining the time stamps on the emails exchanged during that period, it was evident that Swenson-Marshall had left the victim and her other child unattended in the bathtub for approximately seven to ten minutes.
During subsequent interviews, Swenson-Marshall ultimately admitted that she had left her children unattended while assisting her brother-in-law in the living room, stating it was for “a couple of minutes.”
She specified that it was “perhaps around two minutes,” as reported by the Mitchell Republic.
Detectives concluded their investigation in approximately one month and subsequently filed charges against Swenson-Marshall for manslaughter and cruelty to a minor.