Father files wrongful death lawsuit for child’s drowning in Holt, Mo.

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LIBERTY, Mo. – A civil lawsuit has been filed in Clay County against Amberlyn Farrow, the mother of Josslyn Crawford, and also against members of Farrow’s family. Joshua Crawford, the child's father, filed the wrongful death lawsuit accusing them of not keeping a vigilant eye on 19-month-old Josslyn and also for failing to safely maintain their property.

In an exclusive interview with FOX 4, Crawford said, "She (Josslyn) was a happy baby. She loved everybody. She wasn't shy. She would go to anybody. She was just full of life."

Josslyn drowned after falling into a pond on the family's property in Holt, Mo. during a visit last October. The Holt Fire Department responded to an emergency call just after 10 p.m. to the property on Shanks Road.

When emergency crews arrived, family members were trying to revive Josslyn, but she was declared deceased after being transported to a hospital. Authorities believe Josslyn had gone without oxygen for 30 minutes.

"She (Farrow) says they went for a walk. She says she sits down by the pond, kicks her flip-flops off. Josslyn put them on her hands like she did with people's shoes and next thing you know, her mother was waking up and she couldn't find Josslyn," Crawford said.

FOX 4 spoke with Farrow late on Friday night. Farrow said she had a seizure the night Josslyn died and is heartbroken over her daughter's death. Farrow said she will be speaking with an attorney on Monday to fight the lawsuit brought against she and her family.

The lawsuit alleges negligent supervision against Farrow and Charla Assel and negligence on behalf of Farrow, Daniel and Charla Assel, and Adam and Kayleigh Assel. The lawsuit lists the Assels as owners and residents of the property and the pond where the drowning occurred.

Farrow and Charla Assel are accused of breaching their responsibility to care for Josslyn. The lawsuit alleges that both had taken charge of the child and assured Joshua Crawford that they would supervise her.

The lawsuit alleges on October 16, 2013 that Farrow and Josslyn went on a “late night walk.” It is stated that Josslyn was left unattended around or near the pond. Josslyn would later drown in the pond the night of October 16. Both Farrow and Charla Assel are blamed for reckless actions that resulted in Josslyn’s death.

The count for negligence has been filed against all of the defendants and is centered around a dock built on the pond in June of 2013. It is alleged that the family had constructed the dock knowing they didn't have enough barrels to make it float. They are said to have also known that the support barrels that were used were failing.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Farrow and the Assels knew parts of the dock were underwater and that there was inadequate lighting around the pond area. They are blamed for failing to secure the dock and failing to barricade the dock knowing that it was unsafe.

"They've had problems with it tipping, leaning. Just that they've had problems with it leaning right," Crawford said and added, "I just want justice for my daughter. I mean she shouldn't have been out there that time of night."

In addition to those allegations, the defendants are also accused of failing to exercise reasonable care of the property given that they knew children would come into close contact with the pond. The loss of Josslyn’s life is blamed on the defendant’s actions that “showed complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others.”

Crawford is seeking recovery on behalf of his daughter and punitive damages against Farrow and the Assels. For each count he is seeking damages in excess of $25,000, an exact figure is not mentioned. Crawford is also seeking a trial by jury.

"There's not enough money in the world that could bring my daughter back. Nothing. It's not about the money at all," Crawford said.

None of the defendants have been charged criminally in Josslyn's death. No civil court dates have been listed, but a deadline to deliver civil summons to all of the defendants has been set for February 9. Crawford said he was compelled to take action after he perceived the investigation wasn't going to assign blame for his daughter's death.

"The investigation, I didn't think, was going anywhere. They won't tell me nothing. So I mainly did it because if she's not going to be held responsible, somethings got to be done," Crawford said.

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19 comments

    • SALINA

      I AGREE!!!! I HAVE 2 CHILDREN AND MY KIDS GO TO BED AT 8 A YOUNG INNOCENT CHILD AT THIS AGE SHOULD BE IN BED BY 730-800. HER MOTHER DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY. KEEP HER LOCKED UP AND HAVE OUR TAXES PAY FOR THAT??? I DONT AGREE W/ THAT . AND THE FATHER, NOT TO SURE HE HAS A LOT OF SAY IN THIS, NOT THE BRIGHTEST IDEA TO SUE, YET AGAIN ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY THESE DAYS,,, SMH… PRETTY PATHETIC.
      REST IN PEACE BABY GIRL!!!!!!

    • Debbi Bodenhamer

      You need to grow up and realize there is no money to bring Josslyn back. It is to make a point and to make the community see what type of worthless mother Amberlyn was. The Crawford family may not be perfect…but find me a family that is. This is not about Josh…but his little girl. Stop trying to justify something that needs no justification.

  • Stephanie

    I’m sorry this civil case seems ridiculous. Unless the mother was know to have seizures and the child was left in the care of the others and not the mother. But the facts available state he left the baby with her mother. The mother was responsible. Winning this case will not bring justice. If the mother intentionally drowned this child which is what she’s being charged with then her conviction is the justice that needs sought.

  • Deidra Combs

    This is about the child not about anything else . Also if you use casenet you can not be sure that is the person . Others have the same name have seen it many times cases come up but are not that person it is someone else .. Who are you to judge here . The Mother needs to be accountable for what she has done . A child at that age should not have been out that late and in the dark around water or in woods . Please stay focused of the real issue . A child lost her life do to a Mother not watching her child.

  • Joseph Crawford

    You people have some nerve my little niece was murdered by her mother and and all ur worried is what he has done in the past you really need to grow the hell up its only about josslyn and danilee

  • Cierra Pearson

    You all are ridiculous!! Go look at his record, he isn’t perfect!! But go find me someone that is… Amberlyn is a no good mother and is finally getting what she deserves.. She is unfit and that’s why she doesn’t even have any custody of her other children.. And now is responsible for the death of an innocent child, her child. And this is exactly why shes also loosing custody of another child she just gave birth to. And guess what… They found drugs in that baby’s system too, just like they did Jossy’s!!! So leave my Uncle alone when you clearly don’t know all the facts.

  • Wendy Barnes

    If dad was so concerned about his child, why did he not marry this woman so he could be there to keep this nutty woman from taking late night walks around water with a 19 month old??? He has since had another baby with her in spite of lawsuits, arrests. I guess a big insurance settlement would pretty much make this guy’s life worth living. Even if it is from someone who had nothing to do with his daughters death.

    • Cierra

      You have no clue what you’re talking about, is not about the money! The lawsuit is a way of trying to show people what has happened and send a message. You and all these judgmental people need to give it a rest. Jossy has yet to be put to rest because off all this and what do you know, the person that did this to her pled guilty! If she had nothing to hide she would not of put guilty to the death of her daughter! Josslyn was and will always be my world and anyone that had anything to do with her death would be Cut out of my life forever!!! The only person that had anything to do with it was her mother! We’ve all done things in our past but that doesn’t justify who we are now in the present !!! Stop judging him and our family, the only person responsible is Amberlyn!! No matter what happens nothing will ever be enough, Josslyn is gone, and there is nothing we can do about it except fight for her justice! And for anybody that wants to judge my uncle you need to get your head out of your butt and see the bigger picture! Only reason she’s pleading guilty is because she knows that she’s got bigger fish to fry than went to big trial !!!!
      JUSTICE FOR JOSSY👼🏼

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