Houston & Peach

Teen mom charged with murder in drowning of baby at a safe house in Warner Robins

Madison Lee Stewart
Madison Lee Stewart

A 19-year-old is charged with drowning her 16-month-old boy early Friday in a bathtub at a safe house for battered women in Warner Robins.

"It's just a tragic situation," Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton said. "I tell you what, it makes me sick just to think somebody would do something like this."

Madison Lee Stewart was jailed at 7:20 a.m. on a murder charge. Arrest warrants were issued later Friday morning for malice murder, said Houston County sheriff's Capt. Randall Banks.

"She got up, the baby was crying and she went to the restroom; had the baby, and the baby quit crying and then, at some point while she was in the bathroom, she filled the tub with water and held the baby down until it drowned," Banks said.

Stewart then went and told a worker at the safe house that her baby had drowned, Banks said.

Warner Robins police dispatched about 1 a.m. found the boy clothed in a wet T-shirt and jeans on the floor of the bathroom, where his mother had laid him after drowning him, said Houston County sheriff's investigator Sgt. Justin Heath Collins.

The boy had no vital signs. Emergency workers tried to revive him. He was pronounced dead at Houston Medical Center.

Police asked Stewart 'a generic question, 'Tell me what happened here' ... And, basically, she told them she got stressed out and drowned her baby," Banks said.

The Houston County sheriff's Juvenile Division was called to investigate the case.

Stewart had initially told police the boy had drowned while she was giving him a bath, Collins said.

Later, when interviewed by Collins at the Warner Robins police station, Stewart took the investigator through the killing from when she woke up angry that her child was crying to putting in the bathtub stopper and waiting for the bathtub to fill to holding the baby face down until he quit moving, Collins said.

"The circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart," the arrest warrant said.

The drowning happened between 12:01 a.m. and 1:01 a.m. the warrant said. The boy's name was Hunter Sebastian Stewart.

Preliminary findings of an autopsy Friday at the GBI crime lab in Macon found the death was consistent with a drowning, Collins said.

The man Stewart claimed was the boy's biological father was located, but he told authorities he was not the father, Collins said.

Stewart apparently had been staying at the safe house because she basically had no other place to go, Banks said.

The undisclosed location of the safe house is known to authorities and those who work with domestic violence victims.

Warner Robins crime scene investigators worked the crime scene for sheriff's investigators.

"It's a tragic situation, and I know that it affected every officer who responded, ... including myself," Collins said.