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.