Moore County mom charged in son’s drowning reaches plea agreement

CARTHAGE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Moore County mom charged after her son drowned in a pond near her home in April 2016 has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Rylan Ott

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

She was charged with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter in connection with his death.

Bryant, 30, had been accused of child abuse in the past; court documents show she was under supervision by the Department of Social Services and on probation when Ott disappeared.

She has a plea agreement with the Moore County District Attorney, but North Carolina law mandates Ott’s father be notified of the agreement. He is currently in Texas and doesn’t currently have the opportunity to give a victim impact statement in court.

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“She’s devastated. All she ever wanted was to be a mother to her little boy,” said Bryant’s attorney, Arthur A. Donadio.

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.

Ott’s death helped create a bill named “Rylan’s Law” which looks to help to ensure the safety of children returning from foster homes.

Pam Reed was the volunteer social worker assigned to Bryant and Ott at the time of the child’s death.

She has spearheaded to movement to get “Rylan’s Law” passed.

RELATED: ‘Rylan’s Law’ advances in NC House

If passed, the law would require two successful supervised site visits before recommending children go back to their parents.

“I would want someone to do this for my child. I would want someone to stand up and say my child’s life needs to matter for something and that’s probably why — one of the reasons I kept pushing for this,” said Reed.

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