Emily H. Tucker
Emily H. Tucker
A Madison woman is accused of holding the head of a 5-year-old boy in her care under water in an angry rage after the boy had taken and destroyed her cigarettes. She faces three felony charges for aggravated battery, domestic battery and neglect of a dependent in the case, which occurred in January.

Emily H. Tucker, 22, Madison, was charged Feb. 11 and taken to the Jefferson County Jail. She appeared at an initial hearing in Jefferson County Circuit Court last week where Judge D.J. Mote entered a not guilty plea and set bond at $100,000.

Tucker is charged with attempted aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; domestic battery, a Level 5 felony; and neglect of a dependent, a Level 6 felony, in connection with the Jan. 31 incident.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office first began investigating the incident when the boy’s father, Austin Kelley, of Jeffersonville, contacted Central Dispatch with information he had received in a text message saying that Tucker, his ex-girlfriend, had attempted to drown his 5-year-old son. Kelley told police that Tucker had a no contact order against him and asked for someone to check on the boy.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Nathan Green went to the home on North Graham Road just north of Madison, and spoke with both Tucker and the child. Tucker denied the incident or telling anyone she had tried to drown the boy; the boy appeared to be OK and the two were on friendly terms.

However, a Department of Child Protective Services caseworker who later followed up on the case, confirmed that Tucker’s sister, Angela Walther, had received a call from Tucker, who was staying at Walther’s home on the day of the incident and was concerned enough to text Kelley because she thought he was nearby in Hanover and might be able to get to the home more quickly than police.

Walther told investigators she had received a phone call from her sister “wigging out” and noting that her son had taken her cigarettes and destroyed them and she had tried to drown him, but when she saw them later that day the boy was fine, police had been to the home and everything seemed OK.

In later interviews, which took place after the boy was no longer in Tucker’s custody because Kelley had filed for emergency custody, Tucker originally denied the incident to a DCS caseworker who was conducting a forensic interview, but the boy told investigators “his mommy tried to drown him” by pushing him under water with her hands in the tub but that afterward “she was crying and saying she was sorry.”

In another interview conducted by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Yancy Denning, Tucker said she “did not remember” the incident and suffered from “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of an abusive relationship.”

Tucker said she does recall being angry and upset with the boy over the cigarettes as well as a custody issue and for not washing his hair during a bath. She said she dunked his head to get it wet so that he would wash his hair and that she can remember yelling at him and her sister on the phone and that he was “probably scared and probably hurt, but what person in her right mind would do something like that.”

Tucker told investigators she planned to check herself into Wellstone Regional Hospital in Jeffersonville, a facility that treats patients for mental health issues, mood disorders, behavioral problems and substance abuse issues, for her PTSD but that Wellstone had decided she did not need inpatient treatment and referred her to Centerstone, a facility that treats some of the same conditions as an outpatient, in Madison.

Tucker told police she “honestly does not remember what happened,” but that the boy “grabbed her last three cigarettes and crumbled them up on the ground and hid them from her,” and that since she was already mad, she snapped. She told Denning that while she doesn’t remember trying to drown the boy, she “remembers feeling like she had done something wrong” and that the boy “was upset and crying” and that she “remembers holding him and telling him she was sorry.”