Algoma woman charged in infant daughter’s drowning now in custody on cash bond
KEWAUNEE – An Algoma woman facing charges for the bathtub drowning of her 7-month-old daughter, alongside drug-related charges, is now being held in Kewaunee County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond after questions were raised in court about her ability to meet the conditions of the signature bond initially given to her.
Cheyanne J. Wierichs, 23, is charged in Kewaunee County Circuit Court with child neglect resulting in death, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine following her daughter's death on Feb. 9.
After she was charged at a Feb. 22 hearing, Wierichs was released on a $25,000 signature bond. It required her to maintain absolute sobriety, take prescription medication only as prescribed, complete an alcohol and other drug abuse assessment and follow through on recommendations, and arrange any contact or visits with her surviving child through the county Department of Human Services, among other conditions.
But at Wierichs' initial hearing Thursday — recessed from her previously scheduled Feb. 25 appearance because she didn't have a public defender to represent her at the time — District Attorney Andrew Naze asked the court to change her bond to $5,000 cash.
Naze said he was told by staff at the human services department that Wierichs wasn't taking her responsibilities under the signature bond seriously and wasn't communicating or cooperating with them. He also noted Wierichs was more than 50 minutes late for the Thursday hearing.
FOR MORE KEWAUNEE COUNTY NEWS: Check out our homepage
Representing Wierichs, public defender Amanda Toonen said via teleconference that Wierichs' ride to the courthouse was late and she was working through a substance abuse program offered by the Oneida Nation, also trying to get into its inpatient program. Toonen asked that the bond remain the same as before.
"She's grieving in a way some of us can't comprehend," Toonen said "I disagree that she's not taking this seriously."
However, Judge Keith Mehn granted Naze's request for the cash bond in place of the signature bond, saying the issues raised since Wierichs signed the bond have called into question her ability or willingness to meet its requirements.
Naze and Toonen said if Wierichs does get into an Oneida Nation inpatient program, they would work together to have Wierichs released for it.
The criminal complaint against Wierichs says Algoma officers responded to a call at an apartment in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue for an infant who had no pulse and was not breathing. Attempts by an officer and later Algoma Fire and Rescue personnel to revive the infant, Wierichs' 7-month-old daughter, were unsuccessful.
Wierichs initially told officers she put her two children in a bath and went to do some work in the kitchen for a few minutes, finding the infant was drowning when she returned.
Later, though, the complaint said Wierichs changed her story and told investigators she watched some videos on YouTube while the children were in the bath, then left the bathroom for a few minutes to hook up her phone to a speaker. After listening to an entire song, she heard splashing from the bathroom and returned to find the drowning infant.
A search warrant executed in the apartment turned up meth and related paraphernalia.
Wierichs was arrested Feb. 15 and charged with the three crimes a week later. Her next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing at 11:30 a.m. April 29.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Algoma woman charged in infant daughter's drowning now in custody on cash bond