Military Mom Tries to Drown Her Toddler After Being Told of Deployment

A mom from Arizona who is in the Air Force has been charged with attempting to drown her 20-month-old daughter after she was told she was going to be deployed to Turkey but couldn't take her child with her.

Phoeteama Janiece Neal, 28, who was stationed at Luke Air Force Base, got the announcement this week that she would be sent overseas on Aug. 31. She asked if she could take her daughter, but was denied her request and told by a judge that custody of her little girl would be given to the child's father.

Neal then reportedly asked her commander at the base if she could be spared from deployment because of her parenting duties. She says she was told the Air Force would "get back to her."

We'll never know whether this mom's request would have been honored because the next thing she did was too horrible to believe.

Neal reportedly called 911 and, crying, told the dispatcher: "I just drowned my baby. She's drowned."

When police arrived at her home, they say they found her holding the toddler, who was wet and fully clothed. First responders were able to resucitate the girl, but she is currently in extremely critical condition at a hospital and doctors say they think she has less than a 1 percent chance of survival.

Neal was arrested and charged with attempted murder. This poor little girl's dad is also in the military and is stationed at an Air Force base out of state.

This makes absolutely zero sense, though I understand logic doesn't come into play when people commit deplorable crimes. But still -- Neal obviously cared for her daughter, so much so that she asked if she could not be deployed to Turkey. We know she and her child's father were involved in some kind of custody battle, but we aren't sure of the details.

For now, let's just hope Neal's baby girl pulls through this horrific ordeal because she deserves a chance to live a long, healthy life.

Why do you think this mom would try to drown her toddler?


Image via Goodyear Police Department



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It makes me so sad that she was that upset, to want to harm her child. I don't know what was going through her mind, but there is absolutely no reason in existence for attempting to or succeeding in murdering your own child. That poor baby.

Xxxgrl Xxxgrl

She's obviously a single parent so she would have had to sign a family care plan with the military, stating who would care for her child if deployed. If the child's father is also in a deployable status, commands can work together to keep one parent based state side for the child's care. There are always options, this woman seems to have had mental/emotional issues. I am active duty Navy with over 20 years service, this woman had resources. Now she will have her child taken away permanently. Turkey isn't probably looking so bad now. Sad. 

nonmember avatar mad shughart

Check her military records such as character and work ethics. Selfishness

nonmember avatar Justice Johnson

When Andrea Yates drowned get five kids l, she was sick, today you are criminalizing her behavior without knowing the entire situation. Have you ever been stripped from your children for an extended amount of time?? You can never be sure, did my child have a good or a bad day? What did they eat, did they get full? Who knows she could be suffering from ptsd and the thought of having her daughter stripped away from her and not being able to raise her herself sent her over the edge. Sick people do sick things, you wouldn't criticize a cancer patient for expelling their bows if they have no control. I don't understand why they denied her request to bring her daughter, it should be the the militaries responsibility to care for mothers with children if the mother is willing to give her own life for the country. The army isn't all men anymore and true equality is acknowledging that men and women aredifferentand therefore equal treatment may require different things. Children should be allowedtoaccompany deployed parents and they shouldn't have to force custody over. Our military has the resources to make this happen, this is mainly for the women but there are plenty of men married and single with children that would benefit. It would allow families to stay together and people to serve their country without abandoning their families

terpmama terpmama

Sounds like dad may not be trusted by mom

nonmember avatar Kristen

Justice, you clearly have no idea how the military works. Let's put this way. If you don't want to go thru months of NOT being with your child, do NOT stay in the military.

The child has another parent who should have time with his child. Shame on her for being selfish on multiple levels. I do NOT expect the Navy to work with me because I'm a single mom.

nonmember avatar maselena

I disagree justice true equality is that. True equality. ...are you saying that a fathers role is less important then a mothers role. If she wants to serve then she has to make sacrifices like so many other members of our armed services. Shame on her for being selfish and shame on you for being sexist.

nonmember avatar Christina

Justice-so your saying children so go be deployed to God only knows where with their parents? Clearly you have no idea where service members go while deployed. She had resources available to her and chose to be a coward instead.

natty... nattysmommie

The thing with military men of any branch is that they get away with a lot of stuff. Things that under military law should get them put in prison. I've seen it I'm an ex military wife. And if Hes in the right sorts Hes probably gotten away with something the mom knows about. They probably decided not to let her take her daughter to turkey because it may not be the safest place for the child to live it really depends on her basis for why she was deployed there. Its always better to keep the child state side anyway so the least the military could do was make her deployment state side. The delay on her request scared her into trying to kill this baby. Trust me I know. I dont like when my kids go to their dads for a weekend I'd die if they went perminantly.

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