Police: Father took drugs while son, 4, drowned in foul pool

Zachary Brooks

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — A 4-year-old New Orleans-area boy drowned in a filthy backyard swimming pool, and his father has been arrested on charges of cruelty and negligent homicide, police said Wednesday.

Police in the suburb of Slidell said in a statement that Zachary Brooks, 24, was using illegal drugs indoors and left the child, Timothy Brooks, unattended in the back yard of his home when the child drowned March 5. Brooks was arrested Saturday and held in lieu of $200,000 bond.

“There is no question in my mind that the drug use, the deplorable conditions of the house, and the way Timothy was being cared for, contributed to his death,” Police Chief Randy Fandal said at a news conference Wednesday.

The pool’s water was black, covered with green pond scum, and full of “all kinds of trash,” said a police spokesman, Detective Daniel Seuzeneau, in a phone interview. He said the yard was fenced, but there was no safety fence around the pool itself.

Investigators said they found large amounts of drug paraphernalia and suspected drugs throughout the house, which had no running water and was littered with piles of trash and decaying food, according to the police news release.

Seuzeneau said Brooks was the primary caregiver, adding the child’s mother is being held on drug-related charges. He said he did not know whether Brooks has an attorney who could speak for him.

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