3-Year-Old Drowned While Mother Allegedly Glued to Her Phone

A tragic incident unfolded at a Texas water park when a 3-year-old boy drowned while his mother was allegedly engrossed in her phone and music, according to local authorities. However, the mother’s legal team is pointing fingers at the park’s lifeguards, claiming they were negligent.

Jessica Weaver, a 35-year-old mother, is facing charges of child injury by omission following the death of her son, Anthony Leo Malave, at Camp Cohen Water Park in El Paso. Witnesses at the scene reportedly described Weaver as being grossly inattentive prior to her son’s drowning during the park’s “soft opening” in May.

Weaver was arrested on August 30 in her home state of Indiana, where she waived extradition. She was subsequently booked into the El Paso County Jail on September 22 and was later released on a $100,000 surety bond.

According to a document cited by local media, one of the 18 lifeguards on duty at the park pulled Anthony from a 4-foot-deep section of the pool where he had drowned. The report also noted that the child was not wearing a life vest, despite the availability of such devices at the facility.

Signs at Camp Cohen Water Park clearly state that children aged six and under must be directly supervised by a swimming adult at all times and must be within arm’s reach of an adult.

El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks spoke to several witnesses on the day of the incident. One witness claimed that a woman, matching Weaver’s description, was engrossed in her phone by the pool for over an hour, paying no attention to her surroundings. Another witness alleged that the woman was continuously taking photos, while a third witness claimed to have seen the mother singing along to a song and looking at her phone just minutes before the child was pulled from the water.

Weaver’s legal team, however, argues that she has been unjustly blamed for Anthony’s death. They have filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city, alleging “gross negligence” by the park and its lifeguards. One of Weaver’s lawyers, Ryan MacLeod, described a press conference by Hicks as a political stunt and claimed that the charges against his client were in retaliation for the wrongful-death lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges that the city of El Paso demonstrated a lack of concern by not requiring experience for lifeguard candidates and that surveillance video from the day of the drowning was destroyed.

Hicks has responded that the lawsuit has no bearing on the criminal prosecution. He emphasized that every child death is reviewed and each case is examined by prosecutors in collaboration with the police.