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Helen Martin pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder. Her other charges were dismissed. She was sentenced to 65 years: 45 executed in the Department of Corrections and 20 suspended to supervised probation.


KOKOMO, Ind. – A 56-year-old Kokomo woman told police she drowned her 4-year-old grandson because he’d “be better off in heaven.”

Helen Martin faces charges of murder and neglect of a dependent in connection with the case.

According to court documents, police arrested Martin on March 28. Officers had been called to the home after the 4-year-old was unresponsive and unconscious. He later died at a hospital.

Martin’s husband told police his wife had drowned the boy. Martin said the boy was taking a bath; she got into the bathtub and held his head under the water.

Before the drowning took place, Martin said her husband left the home to stop by their storage unit and go to the post office. She decided to give the boy a bath, she told investigators.

Helen Martin

She saw the 4-year-old and his toys in the bathtub and climbed in herself, still clothed. She pushed the boy’s head under the water and held it there until he drowned, according to court documents. She then got out of the tub, changed into some dry clothes and put her wet clothes in the hamper.

Her husband returned and pulled the boy out of the water. Martin’s husband told her she’d called to tell him about the drowning; Martin told investigators she didn’t remember making that call.

She also said she suffered from depression and memory loss, telling investigators she sometimes lost her memory due to PTSD from a “past abusive marriage, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.”

The 56-year-old said she had been “so depressed recently” that the boy would “be better off in heaven than to be with her,” court documents said.

Martin is being held without bond, according to the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office. Her initial hearing is scheduled for April 2.