Gallup woman pleads guilty in child drowning case

The Daily Times staff
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Gallup woman pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Thursday in connection to the death of her young son, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Clara Beth Joe, 26, was allegedly intoxicated when her 13-month-old child drowned in a culvert on Jan. 30, 2014, near the Crystal Chapter House.

A driver saw Joe beside the culvert suffering from hypothermia at approximately 7 a.m. the next day, according to court documents. While she was being loaded into an ambulance, a relative inquired about her son's whereabouts.

Shortly afterward, the boy was found in the middle of the culvert, face down in the water, according to court documents. The autopsy revealed that the child had drowned.

Joe faces up to eight years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Her sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.