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Woman sentenced to 13 years in central Taiwan for causing her daughter to drown

2-year-old drowned after mother brought her into ocean to attempt suicide

Chen (second from left).

Chen (second from left). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A woman was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Tuesday (March 8) for causing her daughter to drown during a suicide attempt.

The 31-year-old woman, surnamed Chen (陳) threatened to commit suicide in January after a quarrel with her husband before leaving their home in Taichung's Dajia District with her two-year-old daughter, CNA reported. Upon receiving a report from Chen's family, Miaoli police and firefighters tracked her cell phone's location and found the pair on the seaside in Miaoli County.

Chen was squatting beside a seawall and holding her daughter, who appeared to be unconscious, per CNA. The child was rushed to a hospital, where she was confirmed to be dead. An autopsy confirmed she had died from drowning, and prosecutors charged the mother with homicide.

According to the Miaoli District Court’s sentencing document, the defendant had intended to kill her daughter as well as herself.

Chen had quarreled with her husband because over NT$500 (US$17) had been lost, CNA citing the court document as saying.

A distressed Chen left home with her daughter on Jan 25, 2021. Once they arrived at the beach in Miaoli's Tongxiao Township, Chen walked with the girl into the ocean.

However, they were knocked down by waves and washed ashore, causing the small girl to drown, according to the document. Chen then carried her daughter to a nearby pavilion near the seawall, but she neither administered first aid nor called for help. She also did not notify anyone in her family about what had happened, per CNA.

During the trial, Chen and her attorney stressed that the girl had been knocked down by waves that had caused Chen to fall down as she attempted to pull her daughter up. They claimed she did not seek help afterward because she was in a poor state of mind, arguing it was a case of reckless homicide.

However, given the autopsy results and the fact that the victim was so young, the judges ruled the small girl would not have drowned if her mother had not walked her into deep water, which showed her intention to kill her daughter.

The court sentenced Chen to 13 years, which can be appealed.

※ If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call 1925, 1995, or 1980 for counseling and help.