National News

Mother sentenced after baby drowns in tub

Posted July 25, 2017 11:47 a.m. EDT

— A 27-year-old mother will spend 100 days in jail after her 1-year-old daughter drowned in a bathtub last September.

Kelsee Flatland was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter, but the charge was amended to felony injury to a child as part of a plea agreement. Flatland pleaded guilty in May and sobbed as District Judge Dane Watkins issued his sentence Monday.

In addition to jail time, Flatland was ordered to serve seven years on probation, undergo counseling, perform 150 hours of community service and pay $1,000 fine.

Flatland left her child, Zyra Flatland, alone in the upstairs bathtub of their home for between 35 and 50 minutes, according to investigators. During that time, she told police she went downstairs and spoke with her husband, Paul, about activating her cell phone. She used the bathroom, attempted to pay her cell phone bill and checked messages on her phone.

Paul was unaware the children were being bathed. He was not charged in relation to the incident and the couple has been divorced since January.

"I feel strongly that Kelsee is mentally unable to watch kids," Paul Flatland told Tuesday.

Paul is concerned about a premature 26-week-old daughter Kelsee gave birth to July 19 via cesarean section. The baby is currently on life-support.

"When Kelsee gets out in 100 days, the newborn will be released from Primary Children's," Paul said. "I recommended 7 years in the hearing so the baby would have a fighting chance of living because she's unfit to care for children."

Kelsee's attorney, Rocky Wixom, asked Watkins if the sentence could be delayed while the infant recovers. Watkins said Kelsee would need to provide specifics on why she was needed for the baby's care and that she should consider furlough. A furlough allows an inmate to temporarily leave jail for a specific reason.