3-Year-Old's Horrifying Drowning Sounds Like Neglectful Parenting (VIDEO)

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Reena Mae Williams
Reena Mae Williams
Today in horrifying news: The parents of a 3-year-old who drowned last month came forward on Sunday to turn themselves in after a warrant was issued for their arrest on Friday. The body of their daughter, Reena Mae Williams, was found in a canal 25 yards from their home in Wisconsin in mid-August -- but before Reena drowned, a neighbor allegedly found her wandering the streets -- alone -- about 12 blocks from where she lived. (Did I mention she was 3?) The neighbor returned Reena to her house, but two hours later, the little girl was supposedly reported missing again.

The really disturbing part? This probably could have been prevented, as this was reportedly at least the sixth time this adorable toddler was found wandering the streets by herself. 

Reena's parents, Jenna Danish, 33, and Thomas Jay Williams, 44, reportedly have a pattern of drug use, and they're currently facing charges of child neglect. When police went to their home on Friday, no one was there, but several disturbing discoveries were allegedly made. According to the criminal complaint, the windows facing the canal where Reena drowned were covered with sheets, and regular and synthetic marijuana, along with accompanying paraphernalia, were found in the residence. The report also claims that the home is surrounded on three sides by water without appropriate fences or safety devices, making it an unsafe place for a toddler to live.

More from The Stir: 3-Year-Old Drowns in Hot Tub During Birthday Party (VIDEO)

It's always completely devastating when a child dies, but when it seems like their death could have been prevented, it makes things even more disturbing. If this girl was really seen wandering away from her home -- supposedly "miles away" -- why wasn't there any type of intervention earlier on? Clearly, these people weren't fit to be parents. This is a terrible tragedy that could have possibly been avoided.

Diana Naylor, the neighbor who found Reena hours before she drowned, said in a statement: "That was just appalling, that she could go missing and get returned, then be missing again an hour later." And she's right. It's completely appalling.

What do you think of this?

accidents, crime


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nonmember avatar Amy

RIP baby. My cousin wandered off and drowned. He was 3 too. Lived in Wisconsin. My aunt and uncle were not pot users and were NOT negligent parents. They will be haunted for the rest of their lives. It happened more than 40 years ago. Children are so precious and so fragile.

Venae Venae

And if the authorities had been notified, they would have had some parenting classes and that's it.  This poor child was doomed to a life of neglect.

Lovex23 Lovex23

My friend fell asleep and her 3 year old walked out and wandered to the apartment pool. She beat herself up about it for a long time about it. I'm always scared my kids will get out somehow without me knowing so I've put latches and high locks on the doors. They're never alone but in the first trimester of my pregnancy I would doze off as soon as I sat down and I'd wake up minutes later in a panic lol. I have to say good parents make mistakes but in the case of this poor girl her parents seemed to lack good judgement and ultimately didn't deserve such a precious child. I am glad that she's safe and sound with God now.

Mary Cimino

My oldest got out once and went to the elementary school a block away from my mothers home where she was being baby-sat. When I got wind of it at work I was furious at my mother but she wasn't injured so I forgave her. CPS was up my ass for months afterwards, I don't blame them for being there. My main question is SIX TIMES and CPS didn't do anything? It only happened to me once and I was told if it happened again my child would be taken away from me. How the hell did they get away with it six times?

nonmember avatar candice

2 kids and I work full time nights and neither of my kids have ever left my house without my knowledge. I know plenty of people who smoke pot and still take great care of their kids and their kids have never wondered off either....don't blame pot for stupidity folks. There's NO good excuse for kids wondering away.

Alison Deruga Gentile

This is terrible.  This is also why a neighbor should call the police when they find a wondering child.  It's not the neighbors fault at all - but in general, these occurrences should be documented so that hopefully, CPS acts before it's too late. 


R.I.P little baby - you were too good for your parents! 



Jorie Thomas

I think majority of parents have had their children slip out and sneak off... I've had 4 children and 2/4 have done it. My oldest was 2 and shared a room with me and he woke up and instead of waking me up he learned how to remove the child safety doorknob and sneak out the front door. He was playing in the parking lot of our apartments and a 13yr old neighbor girl took it upon herself to watch him and I got very lucky because it could have been worse! My second son snuck out the front door while I was making my bed upstairs (in a house) he was also 2, and decided to take a walk around and another neighbor brought him back. It happens to a lot of us and I definitely learned my lesson of not keeping a 1-3yr old with you at all times or at least under supervision. To have it happen more than once is ridiculous because I was so panicked and scared I made sure my sons didn't leave my sight at all after that. These parents sound like idiots and deserve the neglect charge. Parents are entitled to mistakes but not like this.

Jorie Thomas

BTW, I think that the neighbor was correct in first bringing the child back.. kids sneak off and it is not a need for police and a report.. if it happens more than once, then it is time to call the police. And CPS spends more time investigating crap cases than they do on the real ones from my experience. Most parents beat themselves up if it happens at all and they feel awful. I cried so hard when my sons did it and made sure it never happened again. Toddlers are very sneaky and if yo've never had it happen, then congatulations to you but don't condemn people for being honest. Children are wreckless lil creatures and a parent can drop their guard for a moment and it can have a fatal result but that is not the case (IMO) with these parents.

Jessica Reed

Why is it the pot's fault? some parent's don't care about their kids..... I know plenty of people who are regular pot smokers and parents..... They are WONDERFUL parents and not neglegtful...... We need to stop blaming the things around us and just admit that parent's these days are not eyefull enough of our children and watch them enough..... My daughter is 6 and she has never wondered out of my house or I have never lost her...... Parents need to buck up and take responsibility for their children.

nonmember avatar fyrefly

I agree...can't blame pot. Bad parents are bad parents with or with out pot. They have to live with the fact that their daughter is gone because of their neglect. They have a conscience since they turned themselves in. living with that is punishment in its self...very unfortunate. She's in a better place.

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