Investigators: Mother left toddler alone for 14 hours, was found floating in pool
BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - A Bartow County mother charged in the death of her toddler son appeared in court Wednesday morning, where the judge revealed that investigators believe the mother left her child alone for 14 hours. The boy was found floating in a private Bartow County pool on Memorial Day.
Bobbie Jessica Prather, 31, of Bartow County, was arrested around 6 p.m. Monday for felony murder and four counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, according to deputies.
The mother of four was arrested about five hours after neighbors found her 3-year-old son, identified by family members as Jagger, in a swimming pool at a home on Canter Lane in Cartersville and called 911. Emergency officials said the boy was underwater too long to be revived.
“It really affects you when you find something like that,” said Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, Bartow County Sheriff's Office.
Family members told FOX 5 News Prather has three other children, a 4-year-old and 1-year-old twins. The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said they were taken into protective custody after their mother's arrest. In court on Wednesday, a judge revealed that investigators believe the other three children were left unsupervised as well.
“We aren't gonna disclose too much other than that we charged her with four counts of cruelty. Four kids lived there including the victim. Based on those circumstances it led us to the [felony] murder charge,” said Sgt. Rogers.
Rogers said felony murder in Georgia is when a person's death is directly related to the commission of a felony crime, but would not elaborate on this case.
The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services on the case.
Authorities said Prather was the only parent at the home when they arrived.
Deputies were seen at the home on Tuesday afternoon and led one man away in handcuff. Investigators said they were executing a search warrant and the man arrested was one of Prather’s children’s fathers. He was arrested on unrelated charges.
Prather is scheduled for a first appearance hearing Wednesday morning.
This is the second toddler drowning in Bartow County over the Memorial Day Weekend. The body of a 3-year-old girl was found in a private pool on Waterford Drive in Cartersville. Deputies called that drowning a "tragic accident" and did not charge anyone.
Emergency officials urge homeowners with private pools to use gates with child-proof latches and never leave a child alone near the water.