Indiana couple charged in niece’s 2009 drowning
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jun 02, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Almost a full year after the drowning death of their niece in Lake Barkley near Goat Island, a Merrillville, Ind., couple was charged with second-degree complicity to manslaughter in the circumstances that led to her death.

Last month, a Trigg County Grand Jury charged Michelle and Daniel Childers with second-degree complicity to manslaughter, a charge that is connected to the June 30, 2009, drowning death of 15-year-old Fawna Whaley of Clarksville, Ind.

On June 30 last year, Daniel and Michelle Childers were camping with their three children and Whaley on Goat Island in Lake Barkley when Whaley drank some alcohol the Childers brought with them, said the Kentucky Department Fish and Wildlife.

Trigg County Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey said that the Childers had a duty to watch over Whaley, and that they failed in that task, given that Whaley was allowed to get drunk and then swim unattended. In allowing Whaley to swim after getting drunk, the Childers wantonly caused her death, Ovey also said.

The Childers told officials that Whaley was unruly when asked about the alcohol and then decided to go swimming at about 10 p.m. that night, the Fish and Wildlife Department said, adding that she was found at about midnight.

A report from Trigg County Coroner John Mark Vinson indicates that the cause of death was drowning due to acute alcohol intoxication, and the toxicology report states that Whaley had a blood alcohol content of 0.196 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Vinson, who called Whaley’s death a tragedy that could have been avoided, said that alcohol was the contributed factor, as by all accounts Whaley was a proficient swimmer.

Second-degree manslaughter is a class C felony that carries a penalty of five-to- 10 years in prison.
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