IRVING, Texas (AP) — A suburban Dallas woman who was arrested after three of her children drowned last month at an apartment complex pool has been released on bond, police said.
Patricia Allen, 30, was released Saturday, a day after her arrest on one count of injury to a child, Irving police spokesman James McLellan said. The second-degree felony charge hasn’t been filed yet; its punishment ranges from two to 20 years in prison.
Three of Allen’s children — 11-year-old Anthony Smith, 10-year-old August Smith and 9-year-old Treshawn Smith — died after being pulled from the pool on June 24. Her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were also at the pool with her.
During the course of the investigation, detectives “discovered facts and evidence that constituted a criminal offense,” McLellan said in a news release.
According to the arrest warrant, a witness told police Allen had been texting and using her phone as she was attending to the 3-year-old at the side of the pool. The witness added that none of the children had on any type of floatation device.
Two other witnesses said they saw Allen sitting on the steps of the pool facing the deep end with her two youngest children, but the witnesses could not see the other three as they walked toward the pool area. The water was calm in the deep end, leading the witnesses to believe there were no children in distress, the arrest affidavit said. It wasn’t until the witnesses entered the pool area that Allen recognized that her children had disappeared under the surface of the water.
Allen told police that she and her children were not able to swim other than to float and tread water, the document says, and that neither she nor any of the children had taken swimming lessons.
All three children were taken to a hospital after being pulled from the pool. August Smith died later that day, while Anthony and Treshawn Smith died June 25.
Allen’s two younger children were taken into CPS custody Friday, State Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said.
Allen’s attorney, Linda Turley, told The Associated Press on Monday that there was a “rush to judgment in this matter.” She said that her own investigation indicates her client was not on her phone when the children went under and that Allen and the children knew how to swim.
“We are confident that once the true facts are out there, that this matter will be dismissed,” Turley said.
The arrest warrant also noted that “the pool was very dirty and murky making the bottom of the deep end of the pool invisible.” Turley said that’s where the focus should be.
“You could not see the drain and in an apartment complex when a pool is in that condition it is to be closed until it’s corrected because it’s not safe,” she said.
The Dallas Morning News has reported that city records show two pools at the complex have had a history of problems, including poor visibility. Inspection records from the city of Irving for the last five years show both pools received repeated notice that drains were not visible, life poles needed to be replaced and gates did not latch.