Crime

Mother of girl drowned in pond is charged with negligent child abuse

The mother of three children whose father is accused of drowning one of them in a Durham pond and trying to kill the other two was arrested early Friday on three counts of felony negligent child abuse.

Police charged Ashley Dozier Ivey-Lassiter, 27, of 3142 Exacta Lane, with letting “a person” live with her and the children from April 1 to Sept. 20 despite a “safety plan” that called for the children not to have contact with that person.

Information that has come to light since the drowning makes it clear that the person living with the family was the children’s father, Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter.

Lassiter, 29, is accused in Durham of first-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Calista Lassiter and two counts of attempting to murder 5-year-old Bethany Lassiter and 7-year-old Alan Lassiter Jr. in the pond near a Durham apartment complex on Sept. 21.

A Durham County sheriff’s deputy who lives in the complex ran out and pulled both girls from the pond. The boy had been able to run away, authorities said.

Calista was declared dead two days later at Duke University Hospital; Bethany recovered.

Arrest warrants cite a period from April 1 to Sept. 20, which corresponds with the time that Wake County Human Services officials said they learned Alan Lassiter had been living with the family despite a formal plan for him to stay away.

Human Services began looking into the situation at the Lassiter home in early February after the agency got a report that the children were being neglected.

The family had gone to Durham, and officials there worked with Wake officials to develop the safety plan that called for Alan Lassiter to continue getting mental health treatment that had begun during an involuntary commitment to the WakeBrook Crisis Stabilization Center in February. The plan also said he would have no contact with the children.

In March, Wake officials referred the Lassiters to Child Protective In-Home Services, and they were required to go to classes and counseling and treatment programs, according to Wake County records released in October.

As case workers met with the family over the spring and summer, they urged Ivey-Lassiter to get a domestic restraining order to keep her husband away.

Case workers reported that Ivey-Lassiter told them Alan Lassiter no longer lived with the family and that no order was needed.

After Calista died, officials discovered that Alan Lassiter had been living with the family. In the arrest warrants, police wrote that letting the “person” have contact with the children “resulted in serious mental or physical injury.”

After the incident, Wake County officials got a court order to put the children in county custody.

A magistrate set Ivey-Lassiter’s bail at $100,000.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT

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