A Georgia swim instructor is facing charges after a 4-year-old child died while taking swimming lessons in a backyard pool, People reports.
In a December 30 press release, Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jared Williams said he instructed the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to issue an arrest warrant for Lexie Tenhuisen on a misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June 2022 drowning death of Israel "Izzy" Scott.
The decision comes after the Burke County Sheriff's Office initially declined to pursue charges against Tenhuisen.
"Izzy Scott is not a case. He is not a file on a desk, nor an article in the news. He is a child whose loss has broken the heart of our community. He is a symbol of how we should cherish our little ones and hold them tight," Williams said.
Izzy was among 10 children who were taking swim lessons from Tenhuisen at a home in Hephzibah on June 14, 2022, according to a police report obtained by People. Near the end of the swim lesson, Izzy "somehow" ended up in the deep end of the pool. All of the other children and the instructor had gotten out of the pool by this point.
Tenhuisen told police that she didn't notice the 4-year-old boy was missing until her granddaughter spotted his limp body at the bottom of the pool. According to the police report, Tenhuisen immediately pulled the boy out of the pool and began administering CPR with the help of another parent.
Deputies and EMS workers arrived at the scene and continued CPR, establishing a pulse, but Izzy later died at a local hospital.
During the investigation, Tenhuisen said she didn't know how Izzy drowned, per the report.
"Tenhuisen claimed that the only thing that she can think of in her mind is that while the kids were swimming, he got a little too close to the drop-off, but she doesn't remember that because there was just splashing, and she was watching them swim across," the report states.
At the time, the Burke County Sheriff's Office ruled the drowning an accident. But after "months of dedicated inquiry, investigation, and legal analysis," D.A. Williams said there should be accountability under the law for Izzy's death.
"Why should a child so innocent, so precious, leave us so young? How could the law be so insufficient, placing no safeguards over the very people who are entrusted as lifeguards over our children," he said in the press release.
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