Investigators: National interview of father facing charges ‘one-sided’

Ottawa County

WEST OLIVE, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators are reacting after a West Michigan man, who’s accused of manslaughter, called the charges against him “unfair” on national television.

Grand Rapids Community College professor Timothy Koets was charged in October after police say his son, Sam Koets, 16, drowned in the family’s pool after he was left unattended in March 2019.

The 16-year-old had severe autism and was said to have the cognitive abilities of a two-year-old. 

Koets spoke to “Inside Edition” about the case in an exclusive interview Tuesday night. 

“16 years, we cared for that boy and to have the prosecutor treat me this way is very, very hurtful to me,” Koets told the “Inside Edition” reporter. 

Koets told police he woke his wife up to let her know their son was outside playing before he left for work the day Sam died. His wife says she fell back asleep. Koets’ daughters later discovered the her brother standing in the icy family’s pool with his arms bound. Sam later died.

“To be portrayed as an uncaring father and somebody who was negligent in watching him is so unfair,” Koets later said in the interview. 

Investigators at the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office say the interview didn’t show the whole story.

“I don’t think that particular episode or show told the whole story. I think it was rather one-sided,” Captain Mark Bennett said. 

Bennett said several details were left out, like the multiple visits to the home by police and Child Protective Services. 

“During the course of the investigation, we discovered some rather disturbing living conditions that the child had been exposed to — some language interaction that seemed to be a little bit peculiar, meaning some of the nicknames that the child was called,” Bennett added.

There was also no mention of the subsequent charges against Koets and his wife for allegedly filling their son’s Ritalin prescription months after he died.

“I felt that episode of ‘Inside Edition’ was more of an attempt to draw some sympathy,” Bennett said.

Investigators say they’re still confident that the case against Koets is strong, but the court will decide what ultimately happens.

Koets is due in court on Friday for charges in relation to filling his sons prescription. The Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office says Koets’ preliminary examination for the manslaughter charges is also scheduled for the same day.

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