#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 3°C Saturday 27 November 2021

Toddler dies after father throws his children in a pond, confesses in 911 call

Two girls were saved from the water by an off-duty policeman, but one of them died today.

Alan Tysheen Lassiter Alan Tysheen Lassiter Source: AP

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl died today, after her father on Sunday tried to drown her and her siblings in an apartment complex pond in the US state of North Carolina.

Kammie Michael, a spokeswoman for police in the city of Durham, said the girl had died in a hospital, after her fully submerged body was pulled from the pond by an off-duty police officer.

Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter is currently charged with three counts of attempted murder for trying to kill the girl, her sister and their seven-year-old brother.

Lassiter is jailed on a bond of $2 million and is awaiting a court hearing next month.

His five-year-old daughter was also rescued from the pond, but she was found floating and has been released from the hospital.

The seven-year-old boy got away from his father and ran for help, police said.

Children Pond Rescue Evidence flags along the shore of the pond at the Audubon Lake apartment complex. Source: Allen G. Breed/PA

Lassiter initially told residents of the apartment complex that he believed his son had been kidnapped, and needed help finding him.

He flagged down passers-by at the Audubon Lake apartments on Sunday night, saying he was searching for his son, apartment complex manager Sylvia Scott said yesterday.

It wasn’t until later that Lassiter told Scott and a 911 operator that he’d thrown his daughters in the pond, Scott said.

In the taped phone call, which was released by Durham police, Lassiter sounds confused and disturbed, and tells the operator he doesn’t know where he is, and that a GPS tracker would be required to locate him.

I just killed most of my daughters…
CPS (Child Protective Services) was trying to take my kids away from me. All I did was try to go get help.
…Instead, they turned their back on me – the whole system.

Source: News & Observer/SoundCloud

The girls were pulled from the water by Durham County Sheriff’s Deputy David Earp, who lives nearby.

Scott said she was the one who called Earp. As the deputy retrieved the girls, Lassiter was standing nearby smoking a cigarette.

He became distraught, screamed “What have I done?” and started to cry, Scott said.

Lassiter, 29, from the nearby city of Raleigh, did not live at the apartment complex, according to Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez.

Children Pond Rescue Durham County Sheriff's Deputy David Earp, who retrieved the two girls from the water. Source: Allen G. Breed/PA

Earp said the girls were about 10 feet from a bank that slopes sharply down to the pond, which is about 100 metres long.

The five-year-old was floating and crying, Earp said. Her three-year-old sister, who died today, was fully submerged.

Earp said he walked into water about five feet deep and snatched each one under an arm.

After getting them safely to land, Earp said he took the five-year-old to a nearby gazebo and asked Scott and her son to watch over her.

I knew she was terrified, and I just took her off and didn’t want her to be around her sister.

The five-year veteran of the sheriff’s department said he and the arriving officers from the Durham police department performed CPR on the three-year-old for about 15 minutes until medical help arrived.

Contains reporting by the Associated Press.

Read: Woman accused of drowning her three children starves to death>

Read: Five dead as man kills ex-wife and three children>

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

Read next: