News and Tribune

October 25, 2012

Child death deemed accident

Clark prosecutors won’t issue charges in Otisco toddler’s death


OTISCO — No charges will be issued in the death of Aiden Maples — an 18-month-old child who was killed in front of his Otisco home.

The child was killed after being struck by a vehicle in the driveway of his home Oct. 10 by an adult relative.

Officers with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office handed the case over to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 19, without issuing any preliminary charges.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he and Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart decided not to issue charges after determining the child’s death was an accident.

“It [the case] has been reviewed, and our office has determined that based on all of the information that we have received there will be no criminal charges filed,” Mull said. “Our investigation did determine that the child had been accidentally ran over, and that did cause the death of the child. And, we did determine that that was an accident, and therefore no charges were appropriate.”

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office impounded the vehicle that fatally struck Maples several hours after his death.

The woman behind the wheel, who investigators described as the cousin of Maples’ mother, was questioned at the Sheriff’s Office by investigators.

The woman arrived at the property about 6 p.m. to pick up her children, who Maples’ mother was baby-sitting, investigators previously said.

During the stop, Maples sustained fatal injuries.

“The Sheriff’s Office did a very thorough investigation of the case and submitted a very lengthy and detailed investigation,” Mull said. “I don’t anticipate anything further happening on the case.”

He described the incident leading to the child’s death as unfortunate and without any criminal negligence.

“It was a situation where the home was located some distance away from the road in a rural area, and there were some children playing in the yard, and just in the course of that activity, with multiple children playing, the accident happened,” Mull said. “Evidently, the child had somehow fallen or found its way in the path of the car, and it was some bit of time before the other children discovered that the victim had been injured.”

Mull said it was initially unclear how Maples had been fatally injured, but investigators later determined the child was struck by a vehicle, unbeknownst to the driver.

“It just appears to be a very tragic accident, and it was devastating for all involved,” he said.

Mull added that for criminal charges to be issued the state would have to show reckless or intentional behavior on behalf of the offender.

“Our investigation was unable to find any conduct at all on the part of the driver to show there was any recklessness or wrong,” Mull said. “It was just accidental.”