Couple pleads guilty in drowning death of toddler

News-DemocratJuly 17, 2013 

— A father and mother accused of neglecting their children after one of them drowned pleaded guilty on Wednesday and were each sentenced to two years' probation on charges of abandonment and endangering a child.

Thomas and Emilie Pinski were charged last year after their 2-year-old son, Lukas, drowned in a small lake near Edwardsville on May 2, 2012. Lukas and his twin brother had wandered away from their home after they were apparently left unsupervised by their parents.

Lukas was found floating in the lake, while his brother was found with a few minor cuts. Police had found the children after a 911 call from their grandmother. Lukas was taken to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he died four days later.

Prosecutors alleged that the children lived in a home filled with piles of human and animal feces, broken glass, debris and trash, and were often left unattended without supervision.

Emilie Pinski, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of child abandonment, a Class 4 felony, and one count of endangering the life of a child, a Class A misdemeanor.

Thomas Pinski, 27, pleaded guilty to endangering the life of a child. He was not present at the time of the incident.

The other four children were removed from the Pinski home at the time of the incident and are in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. According to a statement from the Madison County State's Attorney's office, they will continue to be in DCFS custody until such time that it is determined it is in their best interest to be returned to their parents.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.