WARNER ROBINS — A Houston County couple has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the drowning death of a 3-year-old boy.
Michael Wade Mayo, 32, the boy’s stepfather, and Shanna Lee Mayo, 31, the boy’s mother, turned themselves in Tuesday night and were released on a $10,000 bond each from the Houston County jail, according to police and jail records.
A Houston County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the couple’s home at 206 Danube Way near Byron at 5:34 p.m. June 11 in reference to a drowning involving a child, according to the sheriff’s incident report.
Emergency medical workers were on scene with the child when the responding deputy arrived, the report stated. The child was taken by ambulance to Houston Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, said Houston County sheriff’s Lt. Randall Banks.
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The couple’s children, part of a blended family, were playing in the backyard unsupervised, and at some point, the 3-year-old got in the above-ground pool that was 4 to 5 feet deep and drowned, Banks said.
The boy, identified as Kerry Austin Gary, apparently had been playing in a nearby plastic inflatable wading pool when he got into the big pool where his 5-year-old sister already was, said Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin.
The little girl saw her brother go under the water and got the parents who were inside the house, Galpin said.
The couple’s arrest follows an investigation by the sheriff’s office and a review by a Houston County team made up of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, state Department of Family and Children Services case workers, representatives of the Rainbow House Children’s Resource Center, a therapist, child advocates and others, Banks said. The team convenes any time there is child death, he said.
The six children who were living with the couple are now living with other family members, Banks said.
Jim Rockefeller, a Warner Robins attorney representing the Mayos, said the children had been supervised when in the wading pool, where they spent most of their time, and in the larger pool. Four of the children were in the backyard.
Shanna Mayo had been in and out of the home, having left a door ajar where she could watch and hear the children from inside, Rockefeller said. The children had been drying off when the 3-year-old boy had fallen in the large pool to retrieve a toy.
“This is, of course, every parent’s nightmare,” Rockefeller said.
Rockefeller said he is confident that once reviewed by others, the incident will be found to have been “a horrible mistake.”
He noted that not only are the Mayos and the children suffering from the boy’s death but also from the legal proceedings and from the family being “scattered to the wind.”
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.