Local News

Landlord: Mother's past contributed to charges in toddler's drowning

Posted April 21, 2016

— A Moore County woman's criminal history played a role in her arrest in connection with the drowning death of her son, her landlord said Thursday.

Samantha Nacole Bryant, 30, of Carthage, was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and felony child neglect in the April 14 death of 23-month-old Rylan Ott.

The toddler was found in a pond off Pond Branch Road near Vass, almost half a mile from his home.

"She didn't watch the kid close enough, and he drowned," said Vernon Olsen, who has rented a mobile home to Bryant for about a year.

Olsen said he wishes Bryant would have kept a closer eye on Rylan, but he doesn't agree with the charges against her.

"They might get her for something, but manslaughter? Wow," he said. "What she’s being charged with is an overkill. I think it is."

Investigators likely were influenced by previous child abuse charges against Bryant, he said.

She was charged with three misdemeanor counts of child abuse in October. Warrants state that she "consumed alcohol excessively" and fought with firearms in the presence of three children.

Prosecution in that case was deferred, and she was released after agreeing to follow a Moore County Department of Social Services plan that called for random drug testing and substance abuse counseling.

Bryant also previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a government official and resisting a public officer.

"If it wasn't the past history, they wouldn't have done anything but given her flowers, tell her, 'We're sorry,'" Olsen said. "I feel like they’re looking for a scapegoat, and obviously they’re going to find one – they found her."

Stephanie Calcutt, a neighbor who helped Bryant search for Rylan the day he went missing, said Bryant was reluctant to call police because she was scared she would get in trouble.

Bryant remains in the Moore County jail under a $200,000 bond.

Olsen said he can't imagine her suffering.

"It’s a tragedy. It’s terrible. I’m thinking she’s got to really be hurting. She just lost her little boy," he said. "She’s probably in all the pain she needs to be in."


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  • Amanda Townsend Apr 22, 2016
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    Why blame DSS? The mother was responsible. DSS put a plan into place to deal with the issues at hand. Their goal is to always return a child to a home, unless that child is in immediate danger, i.e. being physically, sexually, emotionally abused. It appears as though they put a plan in place with random drug testing and counseling, which is likely protocol for any first-time offenses. They also likely check in on the mom every 1-2 weeks. That doesn't mean they make daily welfare checks. It is not the government's responsibility to be parents. Parents who do nothing don't lose custody. The system is designed to keep families together whenever possible. Funding is there. But there are not enough foster parents to place every single child whose parent is "questionable" into those homes. For all the people who talk about no abortion - too many people want to adopt, the sad truth is that it's our older children who need to be adopted, and very

  • Janet Ghumri Apr 22, 2016
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    I feel for this family (the other 2 children mostly, and the mother/father? ). Losing a child at any age is tragic.

    If there were no previous issues, it wouldn't be quite as bad, but the ugly truth is that she did have issues. DSS has a responsibly to monitor and report their findings, not to offer round the clock care for the families that are struggling. The judge she appeared before could have taken the kids away from her the last time.
    The problem is that the system is overloaded with cases like this (and worse, unfortunately). There are so many people who should never be parents.

  • Kim Anderson Apr 21, 2016
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    I blame DSS. Its funny how a parent can do nothing and loose custody, but this parent had previous child abuse charges. She was still under DSS supervision and probation. I feel sorry for the mother just a little bit because they provided no resources for her after leaving the child in the home. The child could have had an Guardian Ad Litem. DSS could have did more frequent home visits. She could have went to parenting classes to learn more parenting skills. Lets not forget that NC gets all kinds of funding to strengthen families, but instead DSS placed him back at home and said we will come back once he dead.

  • Maureen Mercer Apr 21, 2016
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    Her past history justifies the charges. If she could not care for her children she should have gotten help from those who could. May she never have another child.