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Woman drowned 4-year-old because she thought he'd be 'better off in heaven' than with her, docs say

Helen Martin.JPG
Posted at 1:52 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 14:41:15-04

KOKOMO — A Kokomo woman accused of drowning her 4-year-old grandson told detectives that she thought the child was be "better off in heaven" than with her, according to court documents.

Helen Martin, 56, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of murder.

Kokomo Police Department officers and medics were initially called to the 400 block of East 400 South around 11 a.m. for a report of an unconscious and unresponsive child.

Arriving crews found a 4-year-old boy unconscious and attempted lifesaving measures. The child was rushed to Community Howard Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to court documents filed against Martin, she initially told officers she didn't know what happened and that she sometimes lost her memory due to mental health issues. When detectives told Martin that memory loss is not known to be related with any of the conditions she claimed to have, she confessed to drowning the child in the bathtub.

Martin told detectives that she had taken the child, who she and her husband had custody of, to the bathroom to give him a bath, according to the court documents. She said she put the child into the tub and then got in with him, fully clothed and sat down. At some point she said she reached up and began holding the child's head under water, drowning him. She then got up, took off her went clothes and put them in a hamper and put on dry clothes.

When her husband came home he pulled the child out of the tub.

When detectives asked Martin why she drowned her grandson, she said she "believed that she had been so depressed recently that she thought (the child) would be better off in heaven than to be with her," court documents state.

An autopsy by the Howard County Coroner is scheduled for Monday, according to police. The child's identity has not yet been released.

The cause and manner of death is not being released at this time, according to the release. The identity of the child is also not being released.

The case is still under investigation by detectives. Anyone with information is asked to call KPD Det. Cameron Cunningham at 765-456-7136, the KPD Hotline at 765-456-7017, or report tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8411 (TIPS).