Indiana dad charged with neglect in deaths of his 2 sons

August 24, 2018

Daily Journal staff report

The father of two boys who drowned in the Kankakee River in Indiana earlier this week was formally charged with two felony counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death in Lake County on Thursday.

Eric J. Patillo, 34, of Thayer, Ind., was arrested by Lake County Sheriff Department investigators Tuesday night on suspicion of felony neglect of a dependent resulting in deaths of his sons, Evan Patillo, 2, and Levi Patillo, 4, earlier Tuesday.

If convicted, Patillo is facing 20 to 40 years in prison.

The boys were pulled from the river at the LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area, near the Newton County and Lake County line, according to reports.

Levi was pronounced dead at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Crown Point, Ind. Evan was taken to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.

During Thursday’s court hearing, it was learned the 34-year-old Patillo tested positive for opiates and THC. Investigators had him tested for drugs and alcohol.

He allegedly told investigators he had taken heroin Tuesday morning.

Witnesses told investigators Patillo appeared to be under the influence.

In May, Patillo pleaded guilty to felony heroin possession in Newton County, according to Newton County Superior Court records.

His 18-month sentence was suspended, and he was put on probation. As part of the plea agreement, Patillo was ordered to continue with substance abuse treatment.

Police want to question 31-year-old Jesse B. Lintner as a witness about what happened. Witnesses told investigators Lintner was with Patillo before the boys were pulled from the water.

According to reports, two fishermen on land called 911 concerned about the boys’ safety. They said there were two men also in the area, according to Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

With officers en route, a second 911 call was made about 15 minutes later reporting the boys had been pulled from the river and were unresponsive.

The fishermen said Patillo was jumping in the water, and they started looking for the boys.

One boy was found floating in the water, and the second was found under the water near a boat ramp, according to the DNR.

When Lake County officers arrived, Newton deputies and EMS personnel were attempting to revive the two boys, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said.

Update hourly