Mother breaks silence about infant daughter's bathtub drowning

A young eastern Idaho mother who served time in jail after her infant daughter drowned in the bathtub is breaking her...

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 5:27 PM
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 5:27 PM

A young eastern Idaho mother who served time in jail after her infant daughter drowned in the bathtub is breaking her silence about what happened.

Kelsee Flatland, 27, was charged with involuntary manslaughter after her 13-month-old, Zyra Flatland, died while taking a bath in September 2016. Flatland put Zyra and her 2-year-old son in the tub and then went downstairs to pay her cell phone bill.

Court documents show Flatland "had been using her phone for a period of at least 35 minutes and possibly more than 50 minutes from the time she left the bathroom and the time she returned."

Flatland's ex-husband, Paul Flatland, was playing video games while the children were bathing and told investigators he did not know they were in the tub. He was never charged.

As part of a plea agreement, Kelsee Flatland pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child and was sentenced in July to serve 100 days in jail.

During an interview this week with EastIdahoNews.com, Flatland said the day her daughter died started with a fun breakfast in the kitchen.

"I tried to make apple puff pancakes but we didn't have apples so we did peaches," Flatland recalls. "It turned more into a peach cobbler so for breakfast we had peach cobbler with ice cream and bacon."

Flatland says breakfast "got really messy" so she put both of her children in the bathtub.

"They were playing around and I thought this would be a good time to grab my cell phone, pay the bill and then I'll be right back up," Flatland says. "From there, it was cell phone epidemic. You get distracted, lose track of time and you don't realize how many minutes have passed. I just got distracted."

After Flatland's son got out of the tub on his own, she went to check on Zyra and discovered her young daughter was fully submerged under water.

"I pulled her out of the bathtub and hit her back," Flatland says. "I tried to clear her airways and started CPR. Paul came in and he took over and told me to call 911. I called 911 and I ended up re-taking over CPR while I was on the phone with the ambulance."

Emergency crews arrived and Zyra was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. The Flatlands dropped their son at a neighbors and went to the hospital hoping for a miracle.

"They tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate her and decided they were going to try one last time. If they didn't get her heart beating, they would pronounce her dead," Flatland says. "That one last time her heart started beating."

Despite having a heartbeat, Zyra's brain was severely damaged so the Flatlands opted to take her off life support and donate her organs. Flatland says a little boy received Zyra's heart, a young girl received her liver and a father of eight children received her kidney. Zyra's lungs were donated for research of premature babies.

While grieving for her little girl, Flatland had to deal with the legal system and she became pregnant shortly after Zyra's death. Serenity Flatland was born 14 weeks early in July at Primary Children's Hospital – just days before her mother was sentenced.

"I had her on a Wednesday and I was sentenced the next Monday," Flatland says. "It was frustrating because I had this tiny baby in the hospital and I wanted to be there for her. It felt a little unfair but at the same time, I knew there had to be consequences for my actions."

Flatland completed her jail sentence before Christmas and remains on probation for seven years. She and Paul have divorced and Paul has been caring for their son.

Serenity remains in the ICU at Primary Children's and Flatland visits her every Wednesday and on weekends.

Flatland is working at a restaurant and living with her mom. She says, oddly enough, this terrible tragedy has made her a better mother and she hopes other parents learn from her mistake.

"Don't take the little things for granted," she says. "I was on my cell phone a while back looking at videos and I heard Zyra's cry. Back then I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I wish this baby would stop crying' but now it's 'I wish I could hear that baby cry again.' Don't take the little things for granted."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 43°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Oxford
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 41°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: °
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather