Charges upgraded for babysitter after 2-year-old dies in drowning

VIDEO: Charges upgraded for babysitter after 2-year-old dies in drowning

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Berkeley County authorities confirm a Hanahan babysitter faces a charge of homicide by child abuse.

Deputies say Stefanie Johnson is awaiting a bond hearing on the new charge, which came after a toddler was found unresponsive in a swimming pool at a home last month.

Hanahan Police department says they received a call about a possible drowning on May 23 on River Rock Road which is in the Commons at Tanner Plantation neighborhood. First responders said they saw bruises on the child’s forehead and lips and the child was breathing shallow.

An arrest warrant states the child’s mother dropped him off at 8:30 a.m. that morning and Johnson sent a photo via text message at approximately 3 p.m. that showed the child in good health and awake. But at 7:50 p.m., Johnson called 911 to report that the child was unresponsive because of a possible drowning, the document states.

The warrant states Johnson did a Google search about how to get water out of lungs at 6:15 p.m. but did not call 911 until 7:50 p.m.

“The extreme indifference toward providing emergency medical care for the victim is noted by leaving the child unconscious for an unknown exact amount of time before seeking life preserving measures for him,” the warrant states.

Police say Johnson was under the influence of alcohol and prescribed medications and that she admitted to that in an interview.

Hanahan Police say the child was taken to MUSC, was placed on a ventilator and died two days later at the hospital.

The child, identified as Alex Young from Ladson, was taken to MUSC and was placed on a ventilator. He died two days later at the hospital, the Berkeley County Coroner’s Office said.

Young became the first organ donor at MUSC’s new Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. His mother, Jennifer Young, says her son’s organs would help save the lives of least three other children.

Investigators say Johnson had cared for the child at least every other weekend since he was 6 months old. Her bond has not yet been set.

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