Mother convicted of child neglect in Lake Delton bathtub drowning
A young mother was convicted of a felony and ordered to spend four years on probation Monday in relation to the 2017 drowning death of her infant daughter.
During a hearing in Sauk County Circuit Court, Mercedes M. Bloodsaw, 21, formerly of Wisconsin Dells, pleaded no contest to child neglect causing death.
The prosecution and defense jointly recommended that the judge withhold sentencing and order Bloodsaw to serve four years of probation. They also asked that she be ordered to attend a parenting class, undergo counseling and seek any treatment deemed appropriate by her probation agent and the Department of Health Services.
Bloodsaw also must submit a DNA sample and pay $518 in court costs.
Sauk County District Attorney Kevin Calkins said during Monday’s hearing that the resolution was appropriate, considering that Bloodsaw has no prior criminal history, is remorseful and has accepted responsibility for the tragedy.
“I think she is very much appropriate for community supervision at this time,” Calkins said.
Bloodsaw already has begun attending therapy classes, Calkins said, and has worked diligently with the state Department of Health Services toward regaining custody of her other child.
According to the criminal complaint, Bloodsaw walked into the bathroom of a Lake Delton motel room in September 2017 to see her 1-year-old son standing in the tub and clapping his hands. Her 8-month-old daughter was face down in the water.
Her fiancé, who had been working on a computer in a separate room, began chest compressions on the child. First responders were able to re-establish a pulse, but the baby died at the hospital eight days later due to brain damage, the complaint states.
Bloodsaw initially told an officer that she left the children alone in the tub for about 35 minutes, according to the complaint. However, during a follow-up interview the next day, she told investigators she had repeatedly checked on the children and only left them alone for about 5 minutes while she ate dinner.
Bloodsaw’s attorney, Brent Varner of Sauk City, told the judge Monday that his client disagrees with some of the facts in the criminal complaint. However, he said those disputes “would not rise to the level of a criminal defense.”
Varner requested that Bloodsaw be deemed eligible for early release after two years if she complies with all terms of the deal.
“Obviously, this is a very devastating event to her, which she will carry with her for the rest of her life,” Varner said.
Asked if she would like to address the judge during Monday’s hearing, Bloodsaw paused briefly before she shook her head and quietly said “no.”
Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Barrett accepted the joint recommendation, and withheld sentencing. If Bloodsaw does not comply with terms of her probation, she could wind up back in court facing a maximum 25-year prison sentence.
Barrett denied Varner’s request for the possibility of early release after two years, pointing to the seriousness of the offense and the need for continued protection of Bloodsaw’s son. She commended Bloodsaw for her work with social services to date.
“I think that speaks to your character as well, that you’re willing to work toward providing the best possible care that you can for your remaining child,” Barrett said.