Share This Page

Parents charged in baby's drowning in Indiana, Pa.

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

State police in Indiana Tuesday charged the parents of a 13-month-old boy who drowned in a bathtub at home on Feb. 2.

District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said the toddler's mother, Tonya Auen Thomas, no age available, of White, is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children in connection with the death of Ryden Wesley A. Thomas Jr.

The boy's father, Wesley Thomas, 34, is charged with endangering the welfare of children, Dougherty said.

Tonya Thomas told authorities that she performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her son after finding him face down in a bathtub in the family home on Roush Drive, authorities said on Feb. 3.

She could not revive the boy, and he was pronounced dead at 8:32 p.m. Feb. 2 in Indiana Regional Medical Center, White.

Coroner Michael Baker said preliminary autopsy results were consistent with drowning, and there was no evidence of other trauma or physical abuse.

No further details on the arrest were available Tuesday. Dougherty said he will join state police and the coroner Wednesday at a news conference at the courthouse in Indiana.

Baker said Ryden was in the tub with two siblings, ages 2 and 3. Tonya Thomas left the children for a few minutes while she attended to another matter, he said. Authorities did not say what she was doing.

Tonya Thomas contacted the Indiana County 911 center at 7:54 p.m. and performed CPR on Ryden until emergency medical personnel from Citizens Ambulance Service arrived, authorities said.

State police at Indiana said in a brief statement following the death that they were investigating the circumstances of the boy's drowning.

In addition to his parents, Ryden is survived by two brothers, Nevaeh G. and Aiden C. Thomas, at home; and two sisters, Alenah and Alyssia Thomas, both of New Alexandria.

Funeral services for Ryden were held Feb. 5 in Blairsville.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.