GRCC professor arrested in son’s manslaughter case

Ottawa County

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids Community College professor is facing manslaughter and child abuse charges in connection to the drowning of his 16-year-old son with special needs.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies arrested 50-year-old Timothy Alan Koets without incident at GRCC on Thursday. The arrest comes seven months after the drowning.

He’s facing charges of manslaughter, second-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child and fourth-degree child abuse.

On March 28, Koets’ 16-year-old son was found face down in the family’s backyard swimming pool located in the in the 4300 block of Port Sheldon Street, between 36th and 48th avenues in Georgetown Township.

When authorities arrived, the child’s mother was trying to pull the him out of the pool. When firefighters pulled him from the water, the 16-year-old wasn’t breathing and they began CPR, according to the sheriff’s office. The boy died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The pool at Timothy Koets’ home. (Oct. 24, 2019)

Authorities say facts in the case involving the parents are disturbing and will be more apparent as the case progresses.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, sheriff’s office Capt. Mark Bennett said that the swimming pool was covered at the time, but there was quite a bit of water and ice on top. He said the child went into the pool area by himself. Details leading up to the incident are still under investigation.

The pool at Timothy Koets’ home. (Oct. 24, 2019)

“The question as to who was supposed to be trusted in the care of the child, that’s the crux of this situation now, so working through those processes got us where we are today,” Bennett said.

Bennett did not say if the suspect was home at the time of the incident, but did say that he was home the day that it happened. The arrest and charges come from what he did or did not do that lead up to the drowning.

Authorities had visited the home before the drowning, helping find the child when he would leave the home.

Other siblings were at the home during the events that happened. They are no longer in the care of their mother and have been placed in alternative housing since the day of the incident.

The sheriff’s office said relatives of the teen were home at the time of his drowning. More charges involving other individuals could be filed later.

Dave Murray, a GRCC spokesman, said the college was aware of the arrest that happened on campus, the charges and an email Koets sent to his students following his son’s death. A student later copied and pasted that email to a GoFundMe page that was created in April.

Murray said the situation is under review and he doesn’t know when the college will be making a comment.

Authorities say that the suspect does not have a criminal record. As of Thursday afternoon, he was at the Ottawa County Jail.

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