As a Florida mother was preparing to leave work on a Friday last month, she received a horrifying phone call from her babysitter.
Her three-year-old son, Jameson Nance, had drowned in the bathtub, the 25-year-old babysitter, Joshua Manns, allegedly told her.
The mother rushed to home to the West Melbourne apartment complex to find her son dead in the bathroom, though Manns was nowhere in sight. He had not called for medical assistance.
After two weeks on the run, Manns was found and arrested on June 28 in Georgia en route to West Virginia, where he was born.
He had nothing to say for himself during his arraignment Friday, staying silent as he stood before a judge, according to local station WESH. Manns is charged with neglecting, harming, and then killing Jameson on June 11. He remains in jail without bond.
According to the charging document, Manns left a handwritten note for the boy’s mom saying that he’d had a seizure while Jameson was in the bathtub, resulting in Jameson drowning.
Authorities summarized the note, saying Manns wrote that “no one would believe him and he did not want to spend the rest of his life in prison for something he did not do.”
The medical examiner found no evidence of accidental drowning, however. The autopsy showed instead that Nance suffered from battered child syndrome from weeks-old injuries: a broken rib, stab wounds to the head, and brain swelling.
Over the past two years, the Department of Children and Family Services had probed how he had twice broken his leg and endured burns on his arms. Shortly before the preschooler’s death, the department had gone to Jameson’s daycare to investigate “suspicious” injuries.
According to the arrest report, Manns lived at the same apartment complex as Jameson and his mom.