Mother of Toddler, 3, Who Drowned at Water Park Will Be Charged in Boy's Death as DA Claims She Ignored Child

Jessica Weaver Anthony Leo Malave
Jessica Weaver (left) will be indicted later this month in the death of her son Anthony Leo Malave (right).EPPD

This all comes after Jessica Weaver filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city of El Paso, accusing them of negligence in her son's death. 

An Indiana mother whose toddler son drowned at a Texas water park is set to be charged in the boy's death.

Jessica Weaver, 35, could be facing life in prison if convicted on the first-degree felony charge of injury to a child by omission, El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks said at a news conference last week.

The child is 3-year-old Anthony Leo Malave, who passed away after being found unresponsive in the pool at Camp Cohen Water Park on May 13.

Hicks said that Weaver was "not paying attention to the child and the child drowned" on that day, citing interviews with multiple eyewitnesses. 

There were 19 lifeguards on staff that day, but Hicks said at the news conference that "they're not daycare workers or babysitters" meant to monitor every child at the facility.

"It is a parents' responsibility to take care of your children and not to just leave a child to be swimming on their own and expect other people to care for your child or expect a lifeguard to care for your child," said Hicks.

Hicks also noted that there are signs at the water park instructing parents that they must watch their children at all times, something Weaver did not do, according to the claims of eyewitnesses who were present that day.

Court records show that Weaver was arrested in Indiana on a fugitive from justice warrant on Aug.30 and the following day signed a waiver of extradition.

El Paso Police said at the time that "investigators were able to establish a detailed account of the events leading to the unfortunate [death of Leo] and ... determined that the child's death resulted from neglectful and careless actions and a failure to care for the child properly."

Weaver remained at the Elkhart County Correctional Complex until Sept. 21, when records show she was released to the El Paso Police.

She quickly posted a $100,000 surety bond after being booked, jail records show, and then left the state as she has not yet been formally charged with any crime.

“As of today, we do not have her case in our office. We have been speaking with the El Paso Police Department and we do anticipate getting her case in our office very soon," explained Hicks.

Once the investigation is complete, Hicks said his office will file an indictment. There is also a chance that Weaver could be indicted by a grand jury.

A lawyer for Weaver said the district attorney's office should be prosecuting the lifeguards in connection with the death, not his client.

This all comes after Weaver filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city of El Paso, accusing them of negligence. 

Her lawsuit points to an ad seeking lifeguards to work at the park, which said applicants need only be 16 and that no experience was required.

“Defendant’s lack of concern for the safety of their water park guests, especially young children, was already abundantly clear long before Camp Cohen Water Park even opened," says the lawsuit.

Weaver even granted an interview to the local Fox affiliate at the time, telling KFOX14: "The city had the soft opening to get their operations going but it cost my son's life because they weren’t ready. They weren’t ready for a drowning, they weren’t ready for the response.”

A lawyer for Weaver believes the district attorney's plan to indict his client is in retaliation for her filing a lawsuit against the city of El Paso.

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