MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)— The parents of a 3 year-old girl who drowned in a canal near her home in western Wis. are in jail Monday morning.
Just days after neglect charges were filed against 33-year-old Jenna Danish and 42-year-old Thomas Williams, the two are being held in the Burnett County Jail.
The couple reportedly surrendered to authorities on Sunday. The body of their daughter, Reena Mae, was found in a canal near the family home in Danbury, Wis., last month — one day after the young girl went missing.
According to charges filed in the case, Williams is the caretaker of the dam on the property where he lived with Danish and the girl. Neighbors in the area told police Reena had been known to go into the water, and back in early April, went into the water there to retrieve a fishing pole that she had dropped.
A woman who knows the couple told authorities that they “don’t pay too close attention to their child,” that Reena Williams was often dirty and neglected and that it wasn’t uncommon for her to wander off and go into the lower dam at the residence. The complaint states that Williams has also been a daily user of marijuana and other mind-altering substances.
On. Aug. 14, the day Reena disappeared, a witness in the area said he saw her wandering around more than a mile away from her residence. The witness had also said he saw her wandering in the same area at least two other times without adults around. When the witness saw her and tried to bring her home, neither Williams nor Danish were home and Williams did not answer his cell phone, the complaint states.
Williams was fishing at the dam when he came upon them and said it was “no big deal.” That same day, Reena was reported missing after she wandered away from the home again. A neighbor in the area said Williams had been smoking synthetic marijuana with him just before Reena disappeared the second time. Danish was reportedly in the home sleeping when Reena wandered off, according to the complaint.
A massive search for the girl then started at about 8:15 p.m. that night. Authorities later searched the home and found drug paraphernalia in the master bedroom, the complaint states.
Reena’s body was found at about 4:48 p.m. the next day in the dam about 25 yards away from the residence.
If convicted, Williams and Danish each face up to 25 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.