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Mother charged with manslaughter, child abuse in toddler’s on-campus drowning

CMU student could face up to 15 years in prison


Central Michigan University student Grace Hunt appears before a judge and is formally presented with the two felony charges by the state Jan. 28 at Isabella Trial Court.

After nearly five months of investigation, the mother of a toddler who drowned on Central Michigan University's campus in September was arraigned Tuesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse. 

Grace Hunt, 22, appeared in Isabella County Trial Court Tuesday, Jan. 28. She was formally presented with two felony charges by the state. 

Hunt was granted personal recognizance by Judge Sandra Straus and released without bond. She will appear in court for a probable cause conference at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, and again for a preliminary exam at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 13. Hunt's defense attorney said she plans to plead not guilty to the criminal charges.

The maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter, a felony, is 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine. Second-degree child abuse is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Hunt's defense attorney said she is currently enrolled as a full-time student at CMU and has no previous criminal history. The university Registrar's Office confirmed that Hunt is currently enrolled at CMU as an undergraduate student. 

Hunt declined to comment for Central Michigan Life following the arraignment.

The name of the child, a 14-month-old girl, was not released by the court. 

CMU police responded to the toddler's drowning at 8:50 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 in Kewadin Village Apartments, 301 W. Broomfield St., an on-campus apartment complex for CMU students. The 14-month-old girl had reportedly been found underwater in a bathtub and was not breathing, according to CMUPD.

Bystanders attempted CPR on the girl until first responders arrived at the scene. The child was taken to McLaren Central Michigan Hospital by ambulance where she was pronounced dead.

The case is being prosecuted by Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi.

"This is really just a tragedy in general," Barberi told CM Life before Tuesday's arraignment. "It's a very sad story all around."