Two arrested in death of 2-year-old girl

INDEPENDENCE – Two Independence residents were arrested Thursday in connection with a February drowning death of a 2-year-old girl.

According to Independence Police Lt. Rick Igou, Rebecca Watkins, 26, and Codey Campbell, 26, both of Independence, were arrested in connection to the Feb. 24 drowning death of Watkins' 2-year-old daughter, Noelle Watkins. The death investigation had been ongoing since that time.

Independence Police Department Detective Sarah Scharf and Sgt. Juventino Banuelos investigated this case with the assistance of the Polk County District Attorney's Office, Polk County Medical Examiner's Office and the Polk County Department of Human Services.

On Wednesday, the information, including interviews, crime lab results and medical examiner results, were presented before a Polk County Grand Jury and the two were indicted for manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a minor and child neglect in the second degree.

On Feb. 24 at about 6:51 p.m., medics from Polk County Fire District No. 1 and officers from the Independence Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call of a 2-year-old female found unconscious in a bath tub. Noelle Watkins was pronounced dead later that night.

Read more about this case in the Aug. 13 Itemizer-Observer.

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