Mother indicted in accidental drowning of son

May 10, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer tTC

An article in Tuesday's editions of The Sun about the indictment of a woman in the accidental death of her baby in Severn incorrectly reported the police agency that investigated the death. It was investigated by Anne Arundel County police.

The Sun regrets the error.

An Anne Arundel County grand jury indicted a mother on manslaughter charges yesterday in the accidental drowning of her 19-month-old son.

Donna Carol Davidson, 24, of the 1700 block of Richfield Drive, Severn, was indicted on charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment in connection with the March 23 death.


William D. Roessler, deputy state's attorney, said Ms. Davidson was bathing Marcus D. Price in the family's second-floor bathroom about 5 p.m. when she went to answer a knock at the door.

Ms. Davidson talked with a neighbor for 10 to 20 minutes -- until her 7-year-old daughter told her Marcus was on his side, under about 6 inches of water in the tub, Mr. Roessler said.

Ms. Davidson carried the boy into her bedroom and called paramedics. He was taken to Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Mr. Roessler said that the baby had been diagnosed as being developmentally delayed and had the motor capabilities of a baby of 10 months or younger.

"The point is that the baby didn't have all the normal capabilities of a child his age, in terms of being able to sit up and control some of his movements in the water," Mr. Roessler said.

State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said there is no precedent for such a case in Maryland and the case was presented to the 23-member grand jury with no recommendation from prosecutors for any specific charges.

"We said, 'Here are the facts and here are the issues,' and we left it entirely in their hands," he said.

Prosecutors said that child abuse charges were never considered because there was no evidence of cruel or inhumane treatment, or abuse as the result of a malicious act.

Mr. Roessler said that Ms. Davidson has been cooperative with state police investigators and that she was as hurt, shocked and devastated by the child's death "as any mother would be."

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