2 women headed to trial after baby falls through hole, drowns in basement

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Two women are headed to trial Friday after a baby fell through a hole in a Detroit home and drowned in a flooded basement.

The baby's mother, Dasiah Jordan, and 28-year-old home owner Tonya Peterson, are facing charges in the death of baby Ca'mya Davis, who was about a year old. 

Police say on July 6, the baby fell through a hole in the house in the 15000 block of Ferguson and drowned in the flooded basement. 

On that day, Jordan told police she left her baby and her 10-year-old daughter at the house, as well as other children. She said babysitters were on the way. During the time she had left and before babysitters arrived, the baby had found the hole and fallen through.

Police say the baby was found in the basement, filled with garbage and at least 6 inches of dirty water. It had only been covered by cardboard.

Jordan is facing involuntary manslaughter charges and Peterson has been charged with child abuse. Both were in court Friday for a preliminary hearing, where Jordan's 10-year-old daughter, who was at the house during the incident, testified.

Jordan's daughter testified that she was at the stove making noodles, while Peterson was watching TV and talking on the phone. The girl said she set Ca'mya by the kitchen table, and the baby crawled into her room. The girl then noticed the baby was missing and alerted the rest of the household, who began looking for her. The baby was found in the basement, and CPR was attempted to no avail, police say.

The girl said this isn't the first time the hole has caused issues in the house. She said on one occasion, her leg had fallen through. On another, a family friend fell halfway through and had scratches on her stomach.

After the girl testified, prosecution and defense each had a moment to present arguments. Prosecution said Jordan is responsible because she moved her children into an unsafe home with a hole with cardboard on top of it and a flooded basement. She said Peterson is responsible because she was the adult in charge of the children at the time of the incident.

"She wanted to sit on the couch and watch TV. So what did she do? She put the responsibility of a 11-month-old baby onto a 10-year-old child and said come get her, come take her out of here, you better watch her - and that was how she babysat. That is not responsible, especially when she is the homeowner who lives in the house and also knows that this hole exists," she said. 

Jordan's attorney said there was a babysitter in the home, who was in charge of caring for the children and there was an understanding that that babysitter acknowledged - that she was in charge. The lawyer said involuntary manslaughter requires a showing of gross negligence.

"To hold (Jordan) culpable would be to require parents to rid their homes of all open and obvious dangers, which I don't know is a realistic thing to ask," the lawyer said.

Peterson's lawyer argued she was not the one who left the children alone -- that was the mother -- and there was no evidence to suggest that she took that duty of being a babysitter on herself. 

"There's no where in any testimony that she took it upon herself to babysit these children," he said.

He said there while there was a moral duty, there was no legal responsibility to fix the issues with the home.

The judge said he believes when the mother asked Peterson to babysit, she assumed the adult left in charge would not ask a 10-year-old to cook for themselves and watch another child. But Jordan also didn't take any steps to remedy the hole situation.

The judge also said the witness did in fact testify that Peterson recognized she was babysitting the children.

He said the 10-year-old was the one who wrote, "Don't step on or you will fall," on the piece of cardboard sitting on the hole.

"I hear cases every day and the just the fact that the 10-year-old is the adult of the family, watching kids, cooking for kids, trying to make the room safe - I don't understand how you're living like that," he said.

Both defendants were bound over for trial.

Watch the full proceeding on FOX 2 News Now: