GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan father facing charges in connection to the death of his son, who had autism, told “Inside Edition” he thinks he’s being treated unfairly.

“To be portrayed as an uncaring father and somebody that was negligent and wasn’t watching him is so unfair,” Timothy Koets told “Inside Edition.” “I just can’t believe it. I mean, 16 years, we cared for that boy, and to have the prosecutor treat me this way is very, very hurtful to me.”

The “Inside Edition” report aired in full Tuesday evening on WOOD TV8.

Koets has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of manslaughter in connection to the death of his 16-year-old son Sam Koets.

Sam, who doctors say had the cognitive ability of a 2-year-old, died in March 2019 after making his way into an above-ground pool at the family’s home near Hudsonville.

Samuel Koets
A courtesy image of Samuel Koets.

In the interview, the Koets family insist Sam’s death was a terrible accident.

Authorities say Sam was in the icy pool for hours and died of cold water drowning. They say Koets’ daughter texted him a photo of Sam in the pool and he allegedly replied, “make sure the freak is OK.”  

Koets told “Inside Edition” that “freak” was a fun-hearted nickname. 

“I certainly would never consider Sam that, a freak, in the literal sense,” he said in the interview. 

Koets, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, and his wife Michelle Koets also face charges for allegedly continuing to fill Sam’s Ritalin prescription for months after he was dead, with authorities saying they were using the drugs themselves.

Timothy Koets is expected back in a Hudsonville courtroom Friday afternoon for arraignment on the drug charges and a continuation of his preliminary hearing, at which point a judge may decide whether to bind him over to trial for child abuse charges.