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Kokomo woman charged with murder, neglect of 4-year-old

The Howard County Prosecutor's Office has charged a 56-year-old woman with the neglect and murder of a 4-year-old.
Helen Martin (Howard County Jail)

KOKOMO, Ind. (WTHR) — The Howard County Prosecutor's Office has charged a 56-year-old woman with neglect and murder of a 4-year-old.

Police arrested Helen Martin March 28 after an investigation into the boy's death. Kokomo police were called to a home on a report of an unconscious, unresponsive subject. The boy was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

When police responded to the home, Brian Martin told them his wife, Helen, drowned the boy. Helen told police she was giving the boy a bath when she held his head under water.

In a video interview with police, Helen said the boy was her grandson, and she and her husband had legal guardianship of him because he was born to her daughter and was addicted to heroin at birth.

Helen was formally charged Monday with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Helen told police she often lost her memory due to mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. After police told her memory loss is not a symptom of any of those conditions, she confessed to drowning the boy, the affidavit says.

Helen said her husband had left the home before she took her grandson in for a bath. She told police she got in the tub with him and held his head underwater. Then, she got out and changed out of her wet clothes, which is when Brian returned home and pulled the boy out of the tub.

Helen told police Brian said she had called to tell him what happened, but she said she didn't remember making that call. She eventually told police she had been so depressed recently that she believed the boy would be better off in heaven than with her.

Helen is in custody, being held without bond. Her initial hearing is scheduled to be held by video April 2.