Mother of drowned baby enters plea agreement - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

Mother of drowned baby enters plea agreement

  Published at  | Updated at
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready ...

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls mother who was paying her cell phone bill while her child drowned in a bathtub has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Kelsee Flatland appeared in district court earlier this week and pleaded guilty to the felony injury to child charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The plea agreement recommends probation and allows prosecutors to ask for jail time.

Flatland was originally charged with a felony involuntary manslaughter, also carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years. The charge came after she allegedly left a 13-month-old child in a bathtub alone for between 35 and 50 minutes before discovering the child had drowned.

As part of of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommending probation and won’t oppose a withheld judgment, meaning the charge could be dismissed if Flatland successfully completes probation. reached out to the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office regarding the plea agreement and received this response form Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Dewey:

“These are very difficult cases. We made this plea agreement after looking at a number of factors. First, this was not a crime that involved intent to cause any harm to the child. The defendant allowed herself to be distracted from supervising her child for too great a period of time while the child was left in a hazardous situation (in the bathtub). She was cooperative with the investigation, showed remorse and has no prior criminal history. The child’s father and grandfather were consulted with regard to resolution of the case. They both expressed that they believed that the criminal justice system couldn’t punish the defendant more than the loss of her child has already punished her. They also expressed a desire to put this incident behind them. The agreement allows us to ask for jail as a sanction at sentencing, which we believe is appropriate. As such, the agreement allows us to hold the defendant accountable, while taking into account some of the mitigating factors I’ve described above, with the goal of deterring this type of conduct and keeping our community safe.”

According to court records, officers and paramedics responded to Kelsee and Paul Flatland’s Idaho Falls home the morning of Sept. 5 for the reported drowning.

Those records detail a timeline of events starting with Flatland putting her 13-month-old child and 2-year-old child in an upstairs bathtub. Afterwards, Flatland went downstairs to speak to her husband and use a downstairs bathroom, leaving the children in the tub.

Sometime later, the 2-year-old left the bathtub on his own and went downstairs and started to play with Flatland.

Paul Flatland, who was distracted by video games at the time, said she had better go check on the baby, as the child had been alone for a long time. He later told police he thought the child had been alone for about 10 minutes.

Flatland 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 Flatland “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.”

When Flatland went upstairs 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.

Flatland is due back in court in July for sentencing.

Paul Flatland has not been charged in the drowning. He told police he was unaware his children were being bathed, maintaining he was playing video games at the time.