"Charges of neglect have been laid against the mother of the 12-year-old girl who drowned in the Holland River on Monday, August 5, according to the Executive Director of the York Region Children's Aid Society, Donald Van Camp.
Eleanor Lowder, mother of Betty Lowder, the girl who drowned, has been charged under Section 40 part (1) of the Child Welfare Act which makes it an offense for anyone to leave a child unattended for an unreasonable length of time without proper supervision. Under the provisions of the act the maximum fine the court is able to impose in such a case is $200 and a maximum one year prison term.
Hearings on the charge will take place in camera on September 3 in Newmarket family court.
The surviving five Lowder children are in the care and custody of the Children's Aid Society, according to Van Camp. After the accident one of the children was in the care of relatives, according to him, but now all are with the society.
Any inquest into the drowning will have to wait until the charges have been taken care of by the courts, according to Dr. Robert Seaver, who is acting as coroner in the case.
"Its all up in the air right now," said Doctor Seaver, "any charges will take precedent. Until some of these things are straightened out," he said referring to the charges, "we can't go ahead." He is also waiting on further details on the accident to become available from the police and the autopsy report.
The possibility of an inquest will still be up in the air, according to Dr. Seaver, until it is decided if some particular aspect of Betty Lowder's death has to be "...brought out."
The police will only be acting as witnesses and assisting the Children's Aid Society in this case according to Deputy Chief Robert Hood of the York Regional Police. Police could have laid the charge against Mrs. Lowder, but they deferred to the Children's Aid Society in the case.
The drowning was the first case in which Bradford firemen were called to the Marsh area which recently switched to Newmarket for its fire protection. The Bradford department's answering of the call raises the question of the $800 charge which King Township is supposed to pay when the Bradford department enters King.
When asked about the fee and whether it will be charged, Bradford mayor Joe Magani replied, "If someone is drowning and we coulz be of some assistance, I don't think its a matter of dollars and cents."