Father charged with negligent manslaughter after second of two children drowned

A resident of New Taipei City’s mountainous Wulai District has been charged for negligent manslaughter after an investigation into the drowning death of his son, just one year after his daughter drowned in the same stream.

See previous article: Boy’s body found in same stream his sister drowned last summer

Mr Jian, a 40-year-old bus driver, and single father, went fishing in the fast-flowing Nanshi River in August 2019, accompanied by his six-year-old son. Jian told his son to stay put on the riverbank while he waded upstream and used a casting net to catch fish. When Jian turned around to check on his son, the boy was missing.

The boy’s body was found 10 days later, wedged between rocks around 2 kilometers downstream from where he went missing.

To compound the tragedy, Mr Jian had lost his six-year-old daughter the previous summer, after she was washed away and drowned in the same place while playing with her seven-year-old cousin. The girl had been left in the care of her grandmother, but was unsupervised at the time.

The Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office today formally charged Jian for the negligent death of his son. Prosecutor’s argued that Jian had left his son by the shore alone while he went fishing.

Mr Jian, a local aboriginal who lived just 30 meters from the river, said that he had forbidden his children from going near the stream after the death of his daughter. He had decided to go fishing on the afternoon of August 26 to catch fish for his elderly mother to sell in order to supplement their low income.

Mr Jian’s son had begged noisily to accompany him, and he had finally relented on the condition that his son stay on the riverbank and not go into the water.

Prosecutors considered that Jian lived next to the stream and was well aware of the inherent dangers of the fast-flowing river. The prosecution believed that Jian should have kept the boy with him for safety, but left him on the shore by himself. Therefore the prosecutor went ahead and indicted Jian on suspicion of negligent manslaughter.

Jian and two of his children
Mr Jian, 40, and two remaining children after losing his eldest daughter in a drowning accident.
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