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Mother faces neglect charges in infants deaths

Twins drown in tub of 'filthy' apartment


October 11, 2011 | 03:38 PM

ELKHORN — The pregnant mother of 11-month-old twins who drowned in a bathtub while she slept in another room faces two felony charges of child neglect resulting in death.

Melody N. Butt, 26, 3243 Graydon Ave., East Troy also faces two misdemeanor counts of child neglect. If convicted of the two felony counts, she faces 50 years imprisonment and $200,000 in fines.

On Sept. 22, the East Troy Police Department responded to the two-bedroom apartment after Derrick Ivory, a roommate, called 911 seeking help for the unresponsive 11-month-old twins — a boy and girl.

The twins died in an apartment that was reportedly "extremely filthy" with food and clothes scattered throughout it. Officers also located bottles containing curdled milk and diapers filled with feces.

An agent with the Department of Human Services viewed the apartment and said she would have removed the children because of the uncleanliness of the home, according to the criminal complaint.

The father of the twins, Christopher Evans, faces a misdemeanor charge of child neglect. If convicted, he faces nine months imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. Evans was working when the twins died.

District Attorney Phillip Koss said evidence of drug use in the house wasn't discovered, but, as a standard procedure, Butt's blood was drawn and the prosecution is waiting for the results.

According to the criminal complaint:

When police arrived, the twins were lying on their backs behind a couch, one clothed and one not. Both children were wet and not breathing. The twins were taken by ambulance to the Waukesha Memorial Hospital where they were pronounced dead. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy determined the children had drowned.

Inside of the bathroom, there were numerous miscellaneous items floating in the half-full bathtub. Butt told police she had worked third shift the previous evening.

After taking the father of the children to work, she ate breakfast with the kids and took her 6-year-old child to school. When she returned from taking the children to school, the roommate left the residence.

The children and Butt then took a nap. When she woke up she put her 2-year-old daughter and one of the twins in the bathtub, which had water in it. She then took the other twin to the bedroom where she fell back to sleep.

It is unclear in the criminal complaint how the twin that was in the bedroom ended up in the bathtub. However, when police arrived the 2-year-old child was sitting undressed quietly on the couch.

Butt said she didn't wake up until Ivory returned home, which is when she pulled the twins out of the bathtub. Although Butt has been trained in CPR, she didn't attempt to perform it on the children.

However, Ivory also told police that he pulled the children out of the bathtub. Ivory also told police he woke Butt up when he returned to the residence.

An agent with the Walworth County Child Advocacy Center interviewed the 6-year-old girl who was at school at the time of the infants' death.

She told police she often feeds and changes the diapers of her three younger siblings. She also said she gives her younger siblings baths when they "stink."

The 6-year-old told the agent with the child advocacy center that her 2-year-old sister helps with bathing the twins. However, the 6-year-old girl said her sister puts toys in the bathtub, which don't belong in it.

When investigators video taped and photographed the apartment they noticed a tremendous amount of miscellaneous items in the bathtub, which would serve to block the drain.

Investigators went into the basement underneath the bathtub and noticed the water had overflown into the basement.


Tags: Crime

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