Mother charged in deaths of East Troy twins
Melody N. Butt, 26, was asleep in her bedroom when her 11-month-old infants drowned Sept. 22 in a running bath, according to the criminal complaint. Court records detail "extremely filthy" living conditions in the two-bedroom apartment, where police say seven people lived.
A caseworker at the Walworth County Department of Human Services said she would have removed the children after observing the home's condition. Police found used diapers and food scattered around the apartment, including bottles containing curdled milk, according to the criminal complaint.
Butt is charged with two felony counts of child neglect resulting in death. She also faces two misdemeanor charges of child neglect and child neglect as a party to a crime.
Derrick Ivory, Butt's roommate, called East Troy police to 1976 Church St. after coming home to find the children in the overflowing bath. When police arrived, the boy and girl twins were lying on their backs near the couch. Both were wet and not breathing, and one still was wearing clothes, according to the criminal complaint.
Two other girls, ages 6 and 2, also lived in the apartment. They were removed by Walworth County social services.
Christopher Evans, the father of three of the children including the twins, was at work when police arrived, according to the complaint.
Butt told deputies she planned to give the children a bath. She recalled putting one of the twins and her 2-year-old daughter in the bathtub before falling asleep in her bedroom, according to the complaint.
She awoke when Ivory came home to find the twins in the bathtub. The complaint doesn't specify how much time passed or how the other child was put into the tub.
Butt said she works a third-shift job and looks after the children while Evans works a first-shift job.
The 6-year-old girl, who was at school at the time of the deaths, told police she often bathes her younger siblings, changes their diapers and feeds them, according to the complaint. She said one of the twins was able to sit up in the bathtub while the other was not.
She said the 2-year-old girl sometimes helps with the baths. Her younger sibling was able to lift the twins but not carry them, she said.
She also told police the 2-year-old put many items into the tub that didn't belong there, including a backpack, books and paper. Officers said they found several "miscellaneous items" floating in the bathtub when they arrived.
Butt said she removed the twins from the bathtub when she found them. She said she was trained to use CPR but did not attempt it, according to the complaint.
Butt could make her initial court appearance on the charges this week, though a date was not set Tuesday. The two felony charges each carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Last updated: 6:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012