IDAHO FALLS — Court records show a local mother left a 13-month-old child in a bathtub alone for between 35 and 50 minutes, before discovering the child had drowned.
Kelsee Flatland, 26, appeared in court Nov. 16 for an arraignment on a felony involuntary manslaughter charge. During the hearing, Kelsee applied for a public defender.
The state alleges Kelsee is responsible for the death of her child. According to police reports, officer and paramedics responded to Kelsee and Paul Flatland’s Idaho Falls home the morning of Sept. 5 for the reported drowning.
Reports show Kelsee had put her 13-month-old child and 2-year-old child in an upstairs bathtub. Afterwards, Kelsee went downstairs, leaving the children in the tub, to speak to Paul about activating her cell phone and to use a downstairs bathroom. While using the bathroom Kelsee says she attempted to pay her cell phone bill and checked messages on her phone.
Sometime later, the 2-year-old child exited the bathtub on his own and went downstairs and started to play with Kelsee.
Paul, who was playing videos games at the time, told Kelsee that she had better go check on the baby as she had been alone for a long time. Paul told police he thought it was around ten minutes.
Police reports show that prior to the 2-year-old exiting the tub, Paul had been unaware the children were being bathed.
Kelsee told police she figured she was downstairs for five minutes at most, but police were later able to determine through activity on her cell phone that Kelsee “had been using her phone for a period of at least 35 minutes and possibly more than 50 minutes from the time she left the bathroom and the time she returned.”
Kelsee went upstairs and told police that is when she discovered their child submerged in the tub. Both parents attempted to clear water from the child’s lungs and attempted CPR. They immediately called 911.
After arriving at the hospital physicians say they had to suction fluid from the back of the infants mouth and an X-ray showed a significant amount of fluid in her lungs. There were no bruisings noted, but her feet and hands were blue, consistent with being without oxygen for an extended period of time. She was put on breathing and feeding machines and physicians were unsure if there was any brain activity at the time. Six days later she was declared brain dead.
Flatland has a preliminary hearing scheduled Dec. 6.
CLARIFICATION:This article has been updated to include a sentence about Paul Flatland being initially unaware his children were being bathed.