A Valparaiso woman has been
charged with neglect of a dependent after her 3-year-old daughter drowned in
a pond late Monday night, the Valparaiso Police Department said.
Tansia Latice Perkins, 32,
of 2709 Roanoke Court, was booked into the Porter County Jail at 3:48 a.m.
Tuesday, roughly four hours after her daughter, Tamira Billingslea, was
pronounced dead at Porter Regional Hospital (PRH).
According to the VPD, at
9:26 p.m. Monday officers responded to Perkins’ residence in the
Williamsburg on the Lake apartment complex, after Perkins reported Tamira
missing. The VPD-- assisted by Valparaiso Fire/Rescue, the Porter County
Search & Rescue Team, and a Porter County Sheriff’s Department K-9
unit--began an immediate search. The K-9 subsequently tracked the child to
the pond, where she was found unresponsive.
Tamira was transported to PRH and though ER staff “worked diligently” Tamira
was pronounced dead at 11:22 p.m., Coroner Chuck Harris said. Harris told
today that he
has ruled cause of death to be asphyxiation due to drowning.
In a statement
released to the
this morning, the VPD said that, in subsequent interviews with
investigators, Perkins “made inconsistent statements regarding the time
taken to notify the police once the child was determined to be missing.”
Investigators then found
“additional inconsistencies in Perkins’ explanation of the incident,” the
with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the VPD said, Perkins was charged
with neglect of a dependent, a Level 1 felony punishable by a term of 20 to
The VPD, Coroner’s
Office, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources continue to investigate
the incident, Harris told the