HAMMOND, Ind. – The father of the two Indiana boys who drowned in a river has been charged with felony neglect in their dead after allegedly told the police he had used heroin before he took his sons to the waterway.
Eric J. Patillo, 34, was indicted Thursday on two points of neglect of a dependent resulting in death.
Levi Patillo, 4, and Evan Patillo, 2, were not responding Tuesday when witnesses pulled them from the Kankakee River near the Illinois state line , said Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez.
Two fishermen on the lake alerted authorities about two men with young children in the area. The fishermen told the police that they were concerned for the children, because Patillo was found under the influence and going in and out of consciousness, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The men told the researchers that they saw Patillo immerse themselves in the river, and realized that the children disappeared. The fishermen found a child floating in nearby moss. Patillo friend, who sat in their pick-up truck, ran to the lake when he heard Patillo scream and found the young boy underwater.
Patillo admitted to the use of heroin in the morning, tested positive for opiates and marijuana, the affidavit said. He denied that he was nodding off, police said.
“However, Eric Patillo has to admit that he was the person responsible for watching his children, while they at the river, and that he would not have the use of heroin before watching them,” the statement said.
The prison records do not say whether Patillo has a lawyer. A plenary session of Thursday afternoon, according to court records.
Patillo has to contend with an addiction for several years, according to family members. The boys mother, Savannah Sanders, said Wednesday that she and Patillo are almost 11 years, and that they stood with him.
The police interrogation Patillo friend, who ran when the authorities arrived on the scene. He had not been charged as of Thursday afternoon.