Aunt Charged with Child Endangerment in 3-Year-Old's Near Drowning at Arden Hills Lake

July 02, 2018 07:01 PM

The aunt of a 3-year-old girl who was rescued from an Arden Hills lake in May has been charged with two counts of child endangerment.

Court records show Jennifer Rae Chapman, 32 of Blaine, was charged last week in Ramsey County.


According to the criminal complaint, Ramsey County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to Lake Johanna in Arden Hills around 2:45 p.m. on May 26. There, they found a 3-year-old girl lying on her back surrounded by people performing CPR.

RELATED: 3-Year-Old Saved from Drowning in Arden Hills, 11-Year-Old Boy Credited For Seeking Help

Back in May, authorities credited the quick thinking of 11-year-old Everett Melling for her initial rescue.

The criminal complaint states Chapman was there as well and traveled with the girl in the ambulance.

RELATED: Best Practices for Water Safety 

It goes on to state an investigator spoke with multiple witnesses to the incident. Several had reportedly seen the girl floating facedown in the water about 15 feet from shore in around four feet of water. Those witnesses allegedly said the girl was not wearing any flotation or safety devices, and no lifeguard was on duty.

According to the complaint, Chapman allegedly told an investigator she had taken the girl and other children to the beach. She said at one point, while the children played in the water, she left to use the bathroom. She reportedly said the girl was in very shallow water at the time, several inches deep.

RELATED: Medical Examiner IDs 2 Drowning Victims Age 3 and Younger, Rules Accident

The complaint states she reportedly estimated she was gone "for only two or three minutes." When asked who had been watching the girl while she was away, she is alleged to have said no one because she figured she was going to be away only briefly.

The complaint alleges she also knew the girl was not wearing any flotation device, had no water safety experience, and "was not self-sufficient in a water environment." But she reportedly said she had made it clear to all the children that they were to "stay in water that was waist-deep or shallower," and that she had found the girl was able to "understand boundaries and consequences."

The father of the girl reportedly confirmed to authorities that his sister had taken the girl and her own two children to the beach that day, and that the girl "needs constant supervision when in the water." 

WATCH: Boy Rescued by Teenager, Woman from Drowning in Rochester Pool

KSTP is tracking this story and will have the latest on Ch. 5 starting at 4:30 p.m.


Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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