Crime Watch 8

Father of 2-year-old found in White River charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — The father of the 2-year-old whose body was found in the White River on Sunday was charged Wednesday with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Jeremy Sweet, 39, was placed in jail Tuesday following the death of his daughter, Emma Sweet. He is also charged with unlawful possession of a syringe.

The pair were reported missing on Thursday. Sweet was found inside a submerged truck in the White River on Friday. A syringe and empty bag with the corner cut were found on Sweet.

After being helped to shore by duck hunters, police at the scene had to ask Sweet where Emma was, according to court records. Sweet did not mention anything to the duck hunters about anyone else being in the truck.

Sweet initially said he had dropped her off at Casey’s. There is no other mention of Casey in the records. Sweet later told police he had unbuckled Emma and placed her on the roof of the truck before losing her at some point.

He was interviewed by police again at Columbus Regional Hospital and said he got lost on a dirt road and his truck got stuck. Sweet said his truck went over the embankment while he was trying to move it and repeated that he had placed Emma on the hood or roof to avoid the water coming into the truck. He took Emma’s coat off because it was wet.

Sweet told investigators they were both on top of the truck overnight and the last time he saw his daughter, she was on top of the truck yelling for her mom, according to court records. When he woke up, Emma was gone.

In a second interview with investigators on Saturday, Sweet admitted to using methamphetamine and marijuana before going to Indiana Grand Racing & Casino near Shelbyville last Wednesday.

He also said he fell asleep Wednesday night and when he woke up, Emma and her coat were gone. Later in the interview, he told investigators Emma fell into the water with him Thursday morning. He fell asleep and Emma and her coat were gone when he woke up Thursday evening.

An autopsy Monday could not determine whether Emma’s death was caused by hypothermia or drowning, according to court records. No blunt or penetrating trauma was found and the toxicology results are still pending.

Bartholomew Superior Court 1 has not yet set an initial hearing for the case. It is expected to happen next week.

Bail is set for $1.2 million.