Mother charged with negligent homicide after child found dead in well

Family of 4-year-old who drowned in hole is suing City of Baton Rouge
Brittni Clark, mother of 4-year old found dead in well (Source: WAFB)
Brittni Clark, mother of 4-year old found dead in well (Source: WAFB)
Jassiah Clark (Source: Family)
Jassiah Clark (Source: Family)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A mother has been charged with negligent homicide more than two weeks after her 4-year-old son was found dead in a 20-foot, water-filled well.

Jassiah Clark, 4, was found dead on Dec. 22, near his home on Robertson Avenue in a large, deep, water-filled well.  Jassiah vanished from his home on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Jassiah's mother, 25-year-old Brittni Clark, was charged Tuesday afternoon. Baton Rouge Police say these charges have been filed because they do not believe the child was properly supervised when he went missing.

In the arrest warrant, it states officers were called to the Clark residence just before 11 p.m. on the 20th of December. Brittni told police she saw her 4-year-old son Jassiah around 6 p.m. that evening, when he went to play with an 11-year-old neighbor.

Family members say Jassiah was last seen playing in the front yard of his home when he vanished.

During the investigation, detectives learned the child frequently plays outside unsupervised with his 9-year-old brother and 11-year-old neighbor. Family members told police that Brittni and her sister's boyfriend were the only people at home at the time Jassiah went missing. Detectives learned this was a false statement from family members to protect Brittni.

While interviewing Brittni, detectives learned she allowed Jassiah to play with kids outside around 5 p.m. She admitted to police her boyfriend was at the house at that time. She told police she and her boyfriend watched a movie inside the house and was aware that it was dark outside around 5:30 p.m.

Clark and her boyfriend watched a movie until 8 p.m. and she did not check on Jassiah at any time after he left the house to go play. Clark told detectives it was not uncommon for Jassiah to be gone for several hours. Clark's sister returned to the house around 8 p.m. and asked where Jassiah was. "It was only then that Clark decided to check on Jassiah," said investigators in the arrest warrant.

Clark went to her neighbors and learned Jassiah was never there. Investigators learned the neighbors were not home that day and did not return home until 10 p.m.

Search crews canvassed the area until Jassiah's body was found two days later.

The hole, or well, Jassiah was found in was a 20-foot deep pipe that was filled with water and camouflaged with mud and dirt. It is is unclear who is responsible for the pipe. After Clark's body was discovered, a DPW truck was brought in to clear the water from the pit.

In a previous interview, Lesly Reed, Jassiah's aunt, said the city is to blame for the pipe being open. She believes her nephew's death was an accident and one that could have been prevented. She noted that during the search, an officer almost slipped into the hole.

"I'm pissed. I'm hurt. I mean it doesn't make sense. You did work over here. Why would you fill a 20-foot deep hole with dirt and not cement it in or even put barricades around it," said Reed.

Brittni Clark will be booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.