Leslei Jordan Kuykendall, a 38-year-old Virginia mother, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after police said she tried to drown her 7-month-old son in a freezing river. Witnesses called the authorities on January 11, 2021, at around 10:27 a.m., to report that a woman and child were in the Appomattox River near the 500 block of Riverside Ave in Hopewell, Virginia, just south of Richmond.
A press release from the Hopewell Police Department said that prior to officers arriving on the scene, “bystanders observed the female taking the child into the cold water.” The Hopewell Police Department and Fire Department found the woman and child in “waist-high water” in the freezing river when they got to the scene, authorities said.
Both Kuykendall and her child survived and Kuykendall has since been charged with the attempted murder of an infant, authorities told the Progress-Index. She was booked into the Riverside Regional Jail.
Authorities Said the Baby Had to Be Resuscitated After He Was Pulled Out of the River
Hopewell Police Lieutenant Mike Langford spoke to ABC 8 and described the difficult rescue effort: “We did what we were trained to do,” he said, explaining that officers hurried into the water and recovered the infant, who was unconscious, while Kuykendall made her way further into the river.
Fire Marshal Jamie Scott, who was in charge of the rescue boat, told the outlet, “Our crews and police also did CPR on the child, got return of circulation and transported the child to VCU Medical Center.” Langford added that they were then able to get the woman on the boat as well and was sent to John Randolph Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.
The police lieutenant said the young boy had a little bit of water in his lungs but was recovering well. The police department’s press release stated, “The Hopewell Fire Department was able to resuscitate the child who was transported to VCU Medical Center for further medical attention. A very special ‘thank you’ to the Hopewell Fire Department personnel in reviving prior to transport.” The investigation into what happened is underway, ABC 8 wrote.
Kuykendall Was Charged With Attempted Murder But No Motive Was Provided
Kuykendall was arrested on January 19 and charged with the attempted murder of her infant son after authorities said she walked into the water, dropped her child in waist-deep water, and then walked away from him deeper into the river. The 38-year-old was booked into the Riverside Regional Jail in Prince George County and a bond hearing was set for February 8, the Progress-Index wrote.
Authorities said the young boy has been released from the hospital since the incident but it’s unclear in whose custody he was placed. Langford also did not provide a motive for the suspected attempted murder, the outlet wrote.
According to the Progress-Index, the water in the Appomattox River was around 46 degrees when the mother took her son into the water with the air temperature at around 37 degrees and 32 degrees with the wind-chill factor.