An Irving mother has been arrested after three of her five children drowned in an Irving apartment complex pool in June.
Patricia Denise Allen was arrested Friday and jailed on one count of injury to a child, which is a second degree felony.
One child, August Smith, 10, died at the hospital shortly after being pulled from the pool. Treshawn Smith, 9, and Anthony Smith, 11, were taken to the hospital and put on life support, but died about one day later.
Irving police initially said the deaths were accidental, but said Friday that during their investigation they "discovered facts and evidence" that made the deaths a criminal offense.
Police said while Allen played with her 3 and 4-year-olds in a pool at the MacArthur Place at 183 apartments, she had her back turned to the other three kids who were in the water with her.
Those were the three siblings that wound up dying.
None of the five children or the mother knew how to swim, according to authorities.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, "A witness that was at the pool prior to the drownings said that he believed the defendant to be texting and using her cell phone while she was attending to the 3-year-old on the side of the pool.”
The affidavit also says, "Even though the defendant was facing her children, she did not recognize that her children had disappeared under the surface of the water until the witness had come inside the pool area.”
"The water was still,” said Officer James McLellan with the Irving Police Department. “There were no bubbles. There was nothing to indicate that it was a struggle, so they may have been under for a while and it was at that point that the mother stepped up and offered her 3-year-old child to those witnesses, asked them to tend to her, then began trying to get into the pool and begin this rescue effort.”
Police say despite the three deaths, they only filed one count of injury to a child.
"This is a difficult case,” said McLellan. “This lady has suffered the loss of three of her children and we don't believe she set out to in any way to harm these children.”
Neighbors who live in the apartment complex where it happened reacted to the arrest on Friday.
“And if you're gonna take them, at least take floating or their rings or something,” said apartment resident Crystal Diaz. “It's just, I think it's just bad parenting, really."
Allen's attorney, Lacey Turley Stutz, spoke on Friday evening, taking no questions and only making a brief statement.
“Miss Allen has been through a horrific ordeal,” said Stutz. “We're confident that when all the facts are developed in this matter, it will be dismissed.”
Allen bonded out of jail Saturday morning.
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