GUILTY MT - Leo Mathis, 3, drowned in creek, East Helena, 22 June 2011

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by Noway, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    This happened in East Helena, MT.

    The family had apparently just moved to Montana from Washington. Initial reports said the father was crossing Prickly Pear creek (which had recently flooded) with his on in his arms when he stepped in a hole and lost hold of his son.

    His son was found about a half mile down from where he went in.
     
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  3. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    After an investigation, the father was charged with negligent homicide.

     
  4. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    The father was denied being allowed to travel to WA for his son's funeral.

     
  5. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    Mother: I miss my little boy

     
  6. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    When I first read thie article, I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. They had just moved here, might not know about the flooding of Prickley Pear, and wouldn't know that if that creek was "raging" as reported by others, that there was still danger.

    The blood alcohol may have contributed to this accident.

    Based on his history, I think it is a good thing he was not let out of jail to go back to Washington. JMO
     
  7. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    From the article about him not being let out of jail.

    Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said an investigation into the death and the surrounding circumstances continues. ​

    Detectives are searching for personal property that may be in the area of Prickly Pear Creek. If anyone finds any items, Dutton encouraged them to call the Sheriff’s Office at 447-8293.



     
  8. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Blood alcohol of less than .1 is not terribly high (and wasn't even illegal for driving until recent decades when limits were lowered in a lot of states to .08). Is LE sure this accident wouldn't have happened just the same if the father were completely sober?

    I'm surprised the father was charged and I wonder what the rest of the facts are.
     
  9. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    UBM - me too.

    Peace to this family - what a sad incident.
     
  10. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    I'll try to get over to Gail and take some photos this weekend. I am familiar with the area, having driven over that way quite a bit over the last 5 years.

    This is rumor only but the father's story did not match that of witnesses. LE may have said that in one of the articles but I heard it from a resident, not official source of any kind.

    Because the creek in that area had flooded just weeks before, I'd like to see what it looks like now (even though week+ later after drowning).

    eta
    I was surprised they charged him after the first story came out. But that is when I heard from another resident that his story didn't match what other witnesses told LE.
     
  11. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    Officials have warned us to stay away from the water but there are always some who ignore the warnings.

    Since he had just moved here, he may not have known. I don't know what connection they had with EH. If they came here before, had relatives, etc.

    He also may not have known that Riggs and Main Street are the ways to cross. I don't think there is any place that would have been safe to cross in the water between Gail and Main.

    http://tinyurl.com/3shda55

    eta
    These are tiny blocks ... estimating 2-44 houses each block but will see exactly when I drive over.
     
  12. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    I only had time to drive to Gail from Riggs. I also had my 5 yo with me and was not dressed for exploring, but will try again tomorrow or later today if I am alone.

    The bridge is not much more than 1/10 mile from the area on Gail.

    If the bearm was as high that Wednesday as it was today, there is no way a 3 yo would have known there was water on the other side, although an adult might have guessed what the bearm was for.

    The foilage was very thick and I'm not even sure he could have known there was a park on the other side.

    This struck me after I drove away, and for my own peace of mind, I need to go back.

    I don't know how many people were in the park on that night (around 7) or how much noise they were making. I didn't go to see how many people were in the park when I was on the other side but my window was down and I didn't hear anything ... but of course my daughter and I were talking so I wasn't listening to the "outside" noises.
     
  13. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    Also noting that there was no indication of where he and the dad climbed over. I'm guessing the bearm was rebuilt after that, assuming that emergency personnel climbed the bearm.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    In this image, the street name is wrong. It's still Gail on that portion and Morton is the street that intersects.

    The same image with location of bearm. There is no way for me to know what the condition of the bearm was that day unless there are photos of that area published. The blue indicates the bearm, and 4-5 feet is accurate.

    Also, these Google images are old. I don't believe there is such clear access to the creek but with this image in my head (or with me) I'll have to go back.
     
  14. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    What was the reason for Dad carrying the child into the flooded creek?
     
  15. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    To get to the park?

    From what I understand, he got a call on his cell phone, got distracted and his son climbed this "wall" of dirt/rocks. (Picture to be posted soon).

    When he looked over, his son was standing in slow-moving water and the father went in and thought he'd cross over to the other side.

    eta
    By the time Mathis got to his boy the child was apparently standing in the water.
    For some reason Mathis then decided to try and cross the main part of the creek with the boy and drop him off on the other side.
    But along the way "Mathis lost his footing in the main current and dropped his son," writes Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher.
    Mathis says he dove into the water several times looking for his son, but obviously he didn't find him in time.


    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/06/leo_mathis_ex-oak_harbor_dad_c.php
     
  16. Noway

    Noway Montana

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  17. Noway

    Noway Montana

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    This is where I read about the park.

    Mathis was allegedly intoxicated when he decided to carry his son across a raging creek to a park on the other side. Mathis lost his footing and dropped his son, according to an affidavit written by the county prosecutor.

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/soun...y-dead-father-under-1446106.php#ixzz1Qz6attb6


    I've hiked around back there in the past, but always from the park side and on the trails. I don't know whether he would have been able to easily get up on the other side and then follow a trail to the park.
     
  18. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    So the child tried to get to the park? Or dad was unaware of the danger and tried to take the child to the park despite the flooding? Initially I thought perhaps the father was trying to 'rescue' the child from a dangerous situation and lost his footing, not take him through a dangerous situation to go play at a park.

    I'm not really sure I believe the dad was unaware of potential danger. It seems like risky behavior he may have not chosen if he were sober. It seems to me, unless the water was not moving, he could have still lost his footing hole or not.

    jmo
     
  19. pinkfly

    pinkfly Active Member

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    Don’t know what to think about this. Poor little fellow. Prayers to the whole family.
     
  20. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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    It is never a good idea, drunk or sober, to take a 3 yr old into moving stream or creek. Especially w/out a life vest. If you lose control of the child they are gone before you can catch them. It is not the same as holding child in the pool or even the ocean. And to do so just to take him to the park?
     
  21. Jan

    Jan New Member

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    What a sad story. If the father had a no contact order with the mother, then why did they move together to a new state? It sounds like the father could be violent at times. Apparantly, he cared for the boy while the mom worked her 2 jobs? Very tragic!
     

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