Mom arrested after toddler son drowns in Moore County pond

23-month-old Rylan Ott in a photo from the Aberdeen Times and an image of Samantha Nacole Bryant from the Moore County Sheriff's Office.

VASS, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina mom has been charged with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter after her toddler son drowned in a pond in Moore County last week, officials say.

Rylan Ott (Photo: Aberdeen Times)
Rylan Ott (Photo: Aberdeen Times)

Samantha Nacole Bryant of Vass was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after 23-month-old Rylan Ott was found floating in a small pond off Pond Branch Road on Thursday, Moore County Sheriff’s officials told WNCN.

CBS North Carolina has learned that Bryant, age 30, has a history of child abuse. Court documents show she was under DSS supervision and on probation when Rylan disappeared.

Bryant was arrested in October 2015 on two counts of misdemeanor child abuse

Documents show the state deferred prosecution in February 2016, as long as she cooperated with DSS and her probation officer.

The deadly drowning incident happened at a home on Pond Branch Road off Heritage Farm Road shortly after 4 p.m Thursday. Rylan  was last seen playing in the yard of the home.

“People make mistakes. Things happen,” neighbor, Stephanie Calcutt said a day after the incident. “But when you know your son likes to wander, you need to keep a close eye out on him.”

Calcutt helped Bryant look for Rylan on Thursday but they could not find him.

“I told her we need to call the Sheriff’s Department,” Calcutt told WNCN.

The mother, Samantha Nacole Bryant
The mother, Samantha Nacole Bryant

K-9 tracking dogs from Southern Pines Police Department and the North Carolina Department of Corrections assisted in the search for the child.

A helicopter from UNC-Chapel Hill and then from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol arrived on the scene to assist in the search.

Just before 6 p.m., Rylan was found by Moore County deputies floating in a small pond in an area off of Pond Branch Road.

The deputies immediately started CPR and called for an ambulance. The child was declared dead after arriving at the hospital.

Bryant was hospitalized for observation after the death, authorities said.

Bryant was indicted by a Moore County Grand Jury for involuntary manslaughter and felony child neglect.  Bryant was placed in Moore County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond.

Her first court appearance is scheduled for May 31, 2016 in Moore County Superior Court in Carthage

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