Two-year-old drowns in Black Creek, parents arrested - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Two-year-old drowns in Black Creek, parents arrested

Lauren Schmidt Lauren Schmidt
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Steven Moore, the father of two-year-old Alyssa Moore, who died in Black Creek Sunday night, was arrested Tuesday on child neglect charges.

Forrest County Sheriff Department investigator Nick Calico said evidence collected in interviews led to the charges against Moore, who is also being held on a probation violation.

Forrest County Sheriff's deputies arrested mother, 33-year-old Lauren Schmidt of Hattiesburg, late Sunday night following her release from Forrest General Hospital, where she was taken and treated for shock following the incident. Authorities say Schmidt told investigators that she had left Alyssa with two juveniles to tend to her other, younger child.

"What we're being told is the child was playing in the area on the sandbar by the water and the adults were down there back and forth between there and underneath the bridge," said Calico. "That's still part of the investigation, to find out who was there with the child at that time because there were so many people back and forth with the child."

An investigation is ongoing but authorities say at this point that it appears to have been an accidental drowning that happened at approximately 5 p.m. Sunday. The toddler's body was recovered approximately three hours later roughly one quarter mile downstream from the sandbar where Alyssa was last seen playing.

In WDAM footage, Schmidt can be seen being helped out of a rescue boat, soaking wet, after frantically swimming the creek in search of her daughter after she disappeared in the water.

It happened during a family get-together near the lower bridge at Brooklyn. Witnesses told officials between one and one and half minutes went by before those nearby realized Alyssa was missing.

"We're still investigating whether alcohol of anything else was a contributing factor in the incident," said Calico.

Schmidt was released from jail Monday morning on $2,500 bond. As the investigation continues, authorities say charges could be brought against the girl's father, who was also there when the incident happened.

The body has been sent to Jackson for an autopsy.

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