Mother to stand trial in son's bathtub drowning



WHITE TOWNSHIP, Pa. - An Indiana County mother will stand trial on homicide charges in connection with the bathtub drowning of her 13-month-old son.

A district judge dropped the charge against Tonya Thomas, of White Township, in May. But prosecutors charged her again Monday after hearing testimony from the head of the Care Center of Indiana County.

The witness testified that Thomas was repeatedly warned not to leave her children unattended in the tub.

Prosecutors said Thomas and her husband, Wesley Thomas, had been ordered to take water safety courses on how to properly bathe their children.

Despite the warnings, prosecutors said, Thomas left her son unattended in the tub with his 2- and 3-year-old siblings back in February. 

Ryden drowned while prosecutors said Tonya Thomas texted, did laundry and made a snack.

“It was a tragic accident and she was not reckless. I don’t know if she’s capable of being reckless,” defense attorney Bradley Ophaug said.

Tonya Thomas is free on $250,000 unsecured bond. She has custody of a newborn infant, but her 2- and 3-year-old children were removed from her care.

Authorities said Wesley Thomas is also facing child endangerment charges. Prosecutors said he was playing video games when Ryden drowned.