WARRENTON, Ga. - Lottie Kain, the mother of two toddlers who drowned in a retention pond near their home in April, was arrested Tuesday on two counts of cruelty to children in the second degree, Toombs Judicial District Attorney Dennis Sanders said.
Although a Warren County grand jury decided that the deaths were accidental - not homicide - Ms. Kain was arrested under a year-old Georgia statute. The charge is a felony, Mr. Sanders said, and Ms. Kain could face one to 10 years in prison if convicted.
She was being held in the McDuffie County jail. No bond has been set.
No charges are pending against father Dennis Payne, Mr. Sanders said, because the children were in Ms. Kain's custody when they went missing.
Mr. Payne said Tuesday that he was not convinced there was no foul play in the children's deaths and that Ms. Kain would plead not guilty to the charges.
"I think somebody else was involved," he said. "Lottie hasn't done anything. She's a loving, caring mother."
Mr. Sanders said the charges against Ms. Kain are based on a pattern of behavior over several years.
On April 23, Jonah Payne, 3, and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, wandered away from the family home on Lake Drive. Their bodies were fond two days later in a 1 1/2-acre sewage pond. It was the second time that day they had wandered away, police said.