Authorities have made an arrest of 4-year-old Israel Scott’s swimming instructor following his drowning death in Waynesboro, Georgia. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office arrested Lexie C. Tenhuisen on Jan. 17 and charged her with one count of misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter.
Israel died after a swimming lesson with Tenhuisen on June 14, 2022. The toddler reportedly was on his second day of swimming lessons with Tenhuisen at the pool in Waynesboro when he drowned.
Tenhuisen was greeting the parents of her next class when her granddaughter saw Israel in the pool unresponsive. A nurse who’d brought her child for a lesson performed CPR, but Israel was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.
Another student having a lesson recalled seeing Israel get out of the water after the lesson, but said he later heard a splash.
According to Israel’s mother, Dory Scott, the parents of the children having swimming lessons weren’t allowed at the pool during the lessons, so she waited in her vehicle. She didn’t find out that Israel had been pulled out of the pool until she was alerted by a tap on her window from another parent at 10:55 a.m., with the parent saying, “Come get your baby.”
Scott described the moment and said she already knew something was wrong before she opened her door. “Initially when I saw that my heart dropped, and I felt in my heart that something had happened,” said Scott. “I just flung my door open, started screaming and crying, before I even really knew.”
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office declined to arrest Tenhuisen until district attorney Jared Williams instructed the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to issue an arrest warrant.
Tenhuisen was finally arrested at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement released by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. The 66-year-old paid a $10,000 cash bond that was preset and she was released.
“On Tuesday, 1/17/23 at 8:30 p.m. the GBI served an arrest warrant on Lexie C. Tenhuisen, 66 years old of Waynesville, NC,” reads a statement from authorities.
Tenhuisen, the statement continues, “was booked into the Burke County Detention Center on one count of Involuntary Manslaughter, a misdemeanor. The charge is the result of an investigation into the drowning death of 4-year old Israel Scott in June 2022. Tenhuisen was released after posting a $10,000 cash preset bond from the Magistrate Court Bond Schedule.”
Dory Scott shared a message on Jan. 18 on Facebook questioning why the warrant took so long. She also commented on the swiftness with which the swimming instructor was released.
“It has been over 2 weeks since the warrant went out for the arrest and 7 months since he drowned while taking swim lessons. She was finally arrested yesterday and out before you could blink,” wrote Scott.
“How does this even sound right! My son’s case has been investigated and then reinvestigated by the GBI but we have yet to be informed of the findings. What happened to him? How did he drown? What were you doing while he was panicking for his life? How long was he under water as you carried on doing whatever you were doing? Why didn’t you count the kids when they got out of the pool? This was my son’s life and all I can imagine is him panicking and scared for his mommy! After 2 investigations we still don’t have any of these answers. #izzy4ever #justiceforizzy #preventinstructorleddrownings.”
Scott also responded to people who commented on Facebook that Tenhuisen is a Christian lady and wondered if there were nefarious intentions regarding her son’s death.
“The comments saying she’s a great Christian lady,” Scott wrote. “What is Christian about how she responded to my sons death? She didn’t misplace his goggles or towels! I mean my 4-year-old died while taking her swim class after she instructed parents to leave. Then shows no remorse or accountability. That makes me wonder was it more to it!”
Tenhuisen is facing a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine of $1,000.