School closings & delays

Family of man facing manslaughter charge in son’s drowning want case dropped

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The family of a man facing manslaughter charges for the death of his 16-year-old son with severe autism says there wasn't any foul play.

Timothy Koets is facing charges for his death and some of his family members tell FOX17 they want those charges dropped.

On March 28, 16-year-old Sam Koets was found face down in the family pool with his arms bound. Nathan Koets, Sam's older cousin, said the teen's death sent a shockwave throughout his family.

But another shock came seven months later when his father was arrested.

"It's unfortunate and I really think it's unnecessary and I think people don't understand the level of autism that Sam had and how much his dad loved him," Nathan Koets said.

Court documents say Sam was left outside, unsupervised before he was found in the icy pool. Authorities later found that the 16-year-old was living in deplorable conditions.

"These are things that from the outside looking in can look like abuse but it's not it's protection," Nathan Koets said.

He says the family kept Sam bound so he wouldn't hurt himself, and though they tried, he says they were having trouble keeping up with cleaning up after the severely autistic child.

"Autism is a challenge. I don't know how the family did it, the applied for aid from the state which they desperately needed and they were turned down over and over," Koets added.

Records with CPS start back in 2014. A recent petition says a safety plan was established specifically regarding the supervision of Sam around water, door alarms were even provided, but the Koets said they were not using them.

Nathan Koets says he's not sure what happened in this house that day back in march but he knows one thing for sure, Sam was loved.

"That's how I remember Sam is just happy in his own way and he communicated in a different way than you and I do but he was loved and he loved life," he said.

Sam was laid to rest back in March. As for his siblings, due to a pending CPS case, they are both living with family members.

Timothy Koets is expected back in court soon, he's facing manslaughter and multiple counts of child abuse.

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8 comments

  • Lil B's

    Their autistic son is dead thats all they wanted they didnt want the responsibility any more and now they want the charges dropped anter cps was therw to see what he was livimg in rot in hell to all connected

    • Tim

      He’d probably be dead a lot earlier than 16 if they wanted him dead. I beg of you to take some time and volunteer at the “special ed” school before you make accusations like that, to see the impossibility of raising a child with such a condition. Restraints and feces are commonplace.

    • CHUCK LUCK

      Your ignorant if you don’t think it takes a person with a heart to care for someone like this kid that died. We all die and accept it and all y’all without a heart, good luck with your future because you will definitely need it. I also suffer from mental illnesses and thank God someone shows me love by restraining me because luckily I am still here. The truth always comes out in the end.

  • tiredofthecrapola

    I’m still wondering why the mother hasn’t been charged/arrested along with the dad. The dad woke her, told her he was leaving, and she rolled over and went back to sleep. How is that not considered neglect? An Autistic person, who needs 24/7 care, and she’s sleeping – after she was told her husband was leaving. They both should be held responsible. As for the lack of cleaning, how much effort does it take to go into the room with a garbage bag, pick up the dirty diapers, and put a clean sheet on the bed, after thoroughly cleaning it. I’m not defending the dad, I’m just saying they both should be harboring the blame for what happened.

    • Tom T

      Constant, and I do mean CONSTANT, care, is an almost impossible task to maintain over years… imagine a baby that’s learned how to open doors, chemical containers; the ability to break windows. Adult strength. The restraints obviously could make sense. After all, the kid managed to get into the pool and drown. And as for the bedding, imagine how many times a day the kid might just crap his pants and smear it on the walls or bedding. It’s not surprising at all that he died, only that he made it to live to 16. I’m not saying there is no neglect, but I believe few people can imagine the difficulty of managing someone who is aggressively capable of hurting themselves. Most people would just turn the child over to the state.

  • jerry

    the great professor did not plan this he tied the kids hands left him outside had door alarms the the worthless cps had given him the room was a mess the kid lived in basement with elec wires showing human waist on the bed told daughter not to call 911 and he did nothing wrong just more of the dem a rats in the teaching business that should be doing some thing else in life if you have a dog you cant control you bring him to the shelter you dont put it in a pool

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