The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 1, 2014

Indiana County mom withdraws plea in son’s bathtub drowning

INDIANA — An Indiana County woman whose 13-month-old son drowned while bathing unattended with two toddler siblings has withdrawn her guilty plea to charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

Twenty-six-year-old Tonya Nicole Thomas, of White Township, had been scheduled for sentencing Monday, but instead told an Indiana County judge she’s innocent in the February 2013 death of her son, Ryden.

The boy’s father, Wesley Thomas, was sentenced to three months to two years in prison for endangering the children by not checking on them after his wife allegedly left Ryden and two toddlers alone in the upstairs tub.

Tonya Thomas now faces trial in June, and up to 20 to 40 years in prison if convicted of third-degree murder. That’s the most serious charge she faces. Her attorney says she shouldn’t be prosecuted for a “tragic accident.”


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