Father accused of trying to drown 2-year-old daughter at Running Springs camp
KNOX BAY — A man accused of attempting to drown his 2-year-old daughter during a camping trip is being held on $10,000 bail.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said a witness told deputies that Michael Scott Bowers of Lisle was intoxicated during the afternoon of Sept. 29 when he arrived at a campground along U.S. 41 near Knoxville.
When the man was confronted by an adult with him, Bowers allegedly told her, “I’ve had a little too much to drink, let’s go.”
When the suspect got into his minivan and began driving, witnesses told deputies that he stopped the vehicle and attempted to drown his daughter in the swimming pool there.
Officers were dispatched to the campground around 3:30 p.m. after witnessing the incident.
Deputies said they observed Bowers sitting on the pool deck in the van and noticed he appeared to be intoxicated. The officers arrested the suspect and learned that the 2-year-old was in the back seat of the vehicle.
The man’s mother reportedly told deputies that she thought Bowers was her son, telling him to get the daughter’s brother from her car to take him home so he would not disturb her son.
Bowers was charged with attempted first-degree murder, and charges for child endangerment and reckless endangerment remained pending as of Oct. 2.
The incident has sparked a debate about whether the camping area near Knoxville is safe for children and teenagers.
After the story broke, Knox County Sheriff David Morgan asked local leaders whether local law enforcement is responsible for keeping the area safe for the children and teenagers.
“That is a horrible thing to say, but it is what it is,” Morgan said. “We are responsible for ensuring the safety of our children.”
In a written statement, Morgan did not address the specific incident, but said authorities will investigate the allegations.
Bowers didn’t respond to a phone call and email seeking comment. The defendant’s court-appointed attorney, Patrick L. Kennedy, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
On Oct. 2, Bowers appeared before Judge Robert D. Bowers in a Knox County Court of Common Pleas for a probable-cause hearing to determine whether he is fit to stand trial