A coroner has determined that Emma Sweet was killed. The 2-year-old little girl was reported missing on Thanksgiving before she was found three days later in the White River. According to the Bartholomew County coroner, the official cause of death was “complications of hypothermia and asphyxia due to drowning.”

“No actions were taken by her adult caregiver to rescue Emma Sweet from the dangerous environment and this inaction resulted in her death,” the Bartholomew County Sheriff said in a statement, “and thus the manner of death is homicide.”

Emma Sweet was killed. An Indiana coroner determined that the 2-year-old little girl's cause of death was homicide from drowning. (Credit: Bartholomew County Sheriff)
Emma Sweet was killed. An Indiana coroner determined that the 2-year-old little girl’s cause of death was homicide from drowning. (Credit: Bartholomew County Sheriff)

According to reports, Emma Sweet was reported missing on Thanksgiving 2021. She was last seen with her father, Jeremy Sweet, according to Emma’s mother. The 39-year-old man was found on Nov. 26 by duck hunters. His truck was half submerged in the White River, and the hunters had to pull him out to safety. Emma was not with him.

After an extensive search, her body was found two days later about three miles from where her father was found. The 2-year-old was found in the river, and it was determined that she had drowned.

Since the discovery of her body, Sheriff Matt Myers issued a statement thanking those individuals who helped look for the 2-year-old. He said, “I would especially like to thank the volunteer fire departments, Prosecutor Greg Long, and the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office. It takes a lot of people working together in incidents like this, and I am extremely impressed with the professionalism across all agencies.”

Jeremy Sweet was still alive when he was found, and he was taken to the hospital. He was arrested on Dec. 1 for one count of felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death and one count unlawful possession of a syringe. He is being held on $1.2 million bond or 10% cash.

Officers said that the Indiana man gave mixed reports about what happened to his daughter.

“What he originally said was that he possibly had dropped his daughter off some place prior to that incident happening,” said Sheriff Matt Myers. “And then he said at the same time there shortly after that she was with him at the time he went into the water.”

After Emma’s body was found, Jeremy Sweet admitted to police that he had used methamphetamine and marijuana on Nov. 24, which was the day the father and daughter were first reported missing.

A motive for the little girl’s death is unclear. Police believe that Jeremy Sweet drove his car over a 15-to-20-foot cliff and landed in the river. At the time of the incident, the 39-year-old was recently out of jail on bond, and he had multiple charges against him. The charges included unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine.

This is not the only death of a 2-year-old that was caused by a parent’s neglect. Recently, a Houston, Texas mother pled guilty to the 2020 death of her 2-year-old daughter. Sahara Ervin pled guilty to tampering with evidence of a human corpse during her court hearing Wednesday.

According to reports, her 2-year-old daughter, Maliyah Bass, went missing in August 2020 before being found in a bayou by a nearby jogger. Her death was ruled a homicide and Ervin, and her boyfriend, Travion Thompson, were arrested.

Initially, they were charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence. According to Thompson, he saw Ervin beat her daughter with a hairbrush because she wouldn’t go to bed. The 2-year-old was found dead the next morning.

Police discovered that the little girl was forced to sleep in a closet. Sahara Ervin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 1, she could face up to 20 years in prison.