Woman Fined for Role in Toddler Death

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL (AP) – The owner of an Evergreen home where a 3-year-old boy drowned in a septic tank was fined $500 Wednesday and won’t face jail time.

Tommie Cates was sentenced to a one-year deferred jail term after pleading no contest to one count of misdemeanor negligent endangerment for her role in the death of Loic Rogers.

“That one minute of your time could have saved my family and I a lifetime of heartache,” said Loic’s mother, Ariel Rogers, referring to the time it would have taken to fix the septic tank. “It could have saved my son’s life.”

Loic’s father, Mark Rogers, and his three children had been at Cates’ house on the evening of Jan. 24. As Rogers was getting his children in the van, Loic disappeared.

The boy’s body was found in the septic tank on Jan. 26 after an intensive 3-day search.

The riser on the tank had been damaged about a month earlier when a vehicle backed into it, making it impossible to bolt the lid in place.

Prosecutors, who acknowledged that Cates had attempted to fix the lid, recommended the deferred sentence after discussing possible punishments with Loic’s father and investigators, County Attorney Ed Corrigan said.

But Loic’s mother wanted a stiffer sentence.

“He drown in your filth, and you’ll never be able to wash your hands of it,” she said in a story for Thursday editions of the Daily Inter Lake.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.