Michigan dad pleads guilty in autistic teen son’s pool drowning

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WXMI) — The father of a disabled boy who drowned in a pool in March 2019 pleaded guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors accused Timothy Koets of failing to supervise his son, whose hands were bound while he stood in the pool. Koets said he had left for work and was assured that others were keeping an eye on his son at their home near Hudsonville. Authorities say the parents sometimes restrained the boy’s arms to prevent him from harming himself or others.

MLive.com reports Koets, a 51-year-old former community college assistant professor, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 8 to involuntary manslaughter, fourth-degree child abuse and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18.

Koets’s 16-year-old son had severe autism and functioned at the level of a 2-year-old child, according to testimony. The teen got into the pool, which was covered, but could not get out of the icy water. He stood in the freezing water for some time, but ended up collapsing and drowning, MLive.com reports. Ottawa County investigators said Koets’ wife was inside the house but asleep. Timothy Koets left to teach a class.

Koets admitted that his son’s arms, while in the pool, were wrapped in a restraint device the family used to protect the son from himself. Family members said earlier that he could free himself from the wrap if he wanted.