College professor in Georgestown, Michigan Monday was convicted for gross negligence after leaving his disabled son outside by the pool wher he drowned
Timothy Koets jailed after his unsupervised and severely autistic son, 16, drowned in an icy backyard pool with his hands bound
Koets, 51, was sentenced to between two and 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter
Samuel Koets was autistic, nonverbal and at the age of 16 functioned at the level of a two-year-old child
He drowned in the family swimming pool after he being left unsupervised at the family home in Georgetown Township, in Michigan
On March 28, 2019 Koets left for work with his son restrained, both armes tied behind him to prevent the teen posing a danger to himself and others
Koets said that he thought his sleeping wife and 13-year-old daughter would keep an eye on their son
His daughter later texted him a photo of Samuel in the icy pool, to which he replied: ‘Would you make sure freak is okay?’
By the time investigators arrived, Samuel who had been beneath the surface of the water for an hour had drowned
Koets’ wife Michelle, a registered nurse, was sentenced to 21 days in jail time in June 2019 for filling Samuel’s Ritalin prescription after his death and using it herself
Koets has additionally been sentenced to between two and four years in prison over the same drug fraud offence
A Michigan college professor will spend up to 15 years in prison over the death of his autistic teenage son, who drowned after spending an hour in an icy backyard pool with his arms restrained.
Timothy Koets, 51, was sentenced Monday to a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.
Koets’ son teenage son Samuel was autistic, nonverbal and functioned at the level of a two-year-old child. The 16-year-old died on March 28, 2019 after being left unsupervised at the family home in Georgetown Township, about 170 miles west of Detroit.
Timothy Koets susequently, was accused of gross negligence for leaving his son outside by the pool March 28, 2019 while he went to work. His wife, a registered nurse working third shift, was asleep inside the home.
The couple’s 13-yearold daughter was also home at the time. The day after the drowning, their teen daughter was put in foster care.
Handing down the sentence, Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Jon Hulsing said: ‘Sam had value, and the sanction will not restore Sam, but it will recognize that all humans have value, and because of the neglect you committed, a valuable human has lost his life’.
According to the charge complaint Samuel’s parents, Timothy and Michelle Koets, would often restrain their son’s arms to prevent him from harming himself or others.
On the day he died, Samuel’s arms were bound before Koets left his son to head off to work at Grand Rapids Community College.
Koets said he woke Michelle before leaving so she could watch Samuel.
However, she had just worked a night shift as a registered nurse and fell back asleep shortly after her husband said he was leaving.
Prosecutors said Timothy Koets knew his son later got into the icy pool because his 13-year-old daughter texted him a photo of Samuel standing in the water.
Koets allegedly replied, ‘Make sure the freak is OK.’ However, in an interview with Inside Edition in January, Koets claimed that the term ‘freak’ was a light-hearted nickname.
Koets’ 13-year-old daughter texted him a photo of Sam in the pool with his arms bound and he allegedly replied, ‘make sure the freak is OK’.
Koets subsequently instructed the daughter to get her mother.
Michelle Koets was woken by her daughter before she sprinted to get her son out of the pool, where he had been for about an hour.
By that point, Samuel had gone under and couldn’t be resuscitated despite attempts by arriving rescuers.
After the death, investigators found that Samuel, who had a history of aggression toward himself and others, lived in ‘deplorable’ conditions.
‘They say he was kept in a basement with no windows where his mattress was without sheets and had fecal matter on it.
‘Fecal matter was smeared on the walls and dirty diapers were found throughout the room’, documents alleged.
Koets’ attorney David Kallman described the situation as a ‘very unique and tragic’ case, noting in court Monday that his client will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.
A pediatrician familiar with the family and Timothy’s relative both described the Koets couple as loving parents who took care of their severely disabled son.
Joel Koets, Timothy’s cousin, told Mlive.com both he and Michelle were ‘saints’ for the way they treated their son and strove to improve his life.
But Paul Kraus, Ottawa County prosecuting attorney, alleged that Samuel was ‘routinely’ left unattended even though he could not care for himself.
He said authorities had been called 15 times to the family home, mainly because Samuel ‘was unattended and had escaped from the residence.’
Timothy Koets told the court he and the family learned to manage Samuel’s autism as best as they could and mentioned that he had used the word ‘freak’ to describe his son in a text conversation with his daughter.
‘The words that I used were not good,’ he said Monday.
‘It was a way of blowing off steam and I’m not excusing myself for that, but I would never harm or abuse Sam.’
In a related charge, after their son’s death, authorities said after their son’s death, the Koets continued to fill their son’s Ritalin prescription for months and used the drugs themselves.
On Monday Timothy Koets was also sentenced Monday to between two and four years in prison in the Ritalin case after also pleading guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Michelle Koets was sentenced in June 2019 to 21 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge of obtaining a controlled substance by false representation.
Timothy Koets had been a full-time faculty member at Grand Rapids Community College, but he was terminated by the school in January 2020.