WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The investigation continues into the drowning death of a 3-year-old boy in Warwick over the summer.
David “DJ” Holloway III was pronounced dead at Hasbro Children’s Hospital after his father found him face down on the deck next to his neighbor’s swimming pool back in August, according to a police report obtained by 12 News.
Holloway III’s father, 32-year-old David Holloway II, told police he believed that his 3-year-old son followed his 13-year-old brother, who’s autistic, across the street and into the pool. Investigators later confirmed Holloway II’s suspicion while reviewing the neighbor’s backyard surveillance video.
Holloway II explained that his autistic son was known to sneak over to the neighbor’s yard and swim in their pool without permission, the police report said.
Detectives arrested Holloway II and the boy’s mother, 31-year-old Kaitlyn Nolan, last week on numerous charges connected to the investigation, which also revealed their children were living in “deplorable and heinous conditions.”
Here is a timeline of events from the day Holloway III died and what officers uncovered inside the family’s Gorham Avenue home:
The officers who reviewed the neighbor’s surveillance footage noted that the 13-year-old was seen opening the gate and walking toward the pool with his 3-year-old brother in tow.
The video shows the teenager getting into the pool by himself. He was later seen helping the toddler remove his shirt, pants and diaper near the shallow end, according to the police report.
Holloway III then started walking naked toward the pool’s ladder, but the recording stopped right before he climbed into the water. The next clip, which started recording two minutes after the previous one, showed Holloway III struggling to keep his head above water in the shallow end of the pool.
“He is frequently on his back underwater,” the police report said. “Although his extremities are moving, he is not thrashing and comes above the water line a few times and is able to get air. However, he does not appear to know how to swim.”
Though his brother was struggling, the teenager did not appear to notice or understand what was happening due to his disability, the report said.
The next clip isn’t recorded until nearly 10 minutes later, when the teenager could be seen pulling Holloway III out of the pool by his hips. That’s when Holloway II walked through the gate and into the neighbor’s backyard. Once he noticed his son was lying unresponsive on the deck, the police report said he picked him up and carried him toward the front yard. Holloway II then called 911 and began performing CPR on his young son, according to the police report.
Holloway II told investigators he had been watching the five children who lived in his home, including Holloway III and the boy’s 13-year-old brother, 4- and 7-year-old sisters and 10-year-old half-sister.
Holloway II said he checked on the children, who were all upstairs on the second floor of the home, prior to using the bathroom and going downstairs to wash the dishes, the report said. Several minutes later, Holloway II said he realized “things were too quiet” and went to check on them again. That’s when he realized his two sons were no longer in the house.
Holloway II told police he then ran over to the neighbor’s backyard, which his teenage son was known to sneak into. He overheard the teen telling Holloway III that “it was time to get out of the pool” and found the toddler lying face down on the deck, according to the report.
The toddler was eventually rushed to the hospital by first responders. He was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Holloway II and Nolan, who was not living in the house at the time of the incident but drove over upon learning what had happened, were both taken in for questioning by Warwick police.
Meanwhile, officers searched the home and found that, while the other four children were unharmed, the residence was in “deplorable condition.”
An officer who walked through the house noted “a large amount of garbage strewn about,” along with “significant quantities of dirt and other unknown substances” on the walls, the police report said.
The officer reported smelling “the strong odor of urine, fecal matter and fresh marijuana in the air.” He also noticed several piles of animal feces on the ground and “several maggots” on the ceiling.
Half of the house’s windows were screwed shut, according to the police report, and the front door was secured with locks and blocked by a sofa. Though the basement door was secured with a reverse deadbolt, officers learned the bulkhead door leading outside did not lock.
Officers said the bulkhead door was open at the time of the search.
Holloway II and Nolan both told police their 13-year-old son had been sneaking out of the home through various windows and doors, adding that he had even learned how to use a butter knife to open the basement door.
Officers later discovered a “marijuana growing operation” in the basement, including approximately 40 plants, the police report continued.
The R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) immediately determined the home was unsafe for the four children. DCYF investigators told police they would follow up with those who took custody of the children to ensure a safety plan was in place.
There were also two dogs in the home, according to the police report: a 10-year-old lab mix named Bentley and a 13-year-old hound mix named Molly. Officers noticed both dogs were suffering from “moderate to severe flea infestations” and were covered in urine and feces.
The dogs were brought to Ocean State Veterinarian Specialists, police said, where Molly was found to be suffering from numerous ailments, including anemia, a severe ear infection, dehydration, a heart murmur and dental disease.
Molly could not walk on her own and her breathing was shallow, the report said, so the veterinarians decided to humanely euthanize her. Bentley underwent dental surgery and was treated for fleas before being taken to the Warwick Animal Shelter.
Holloway II’s mother brought four cats who had been living in her son’s home to the animal shelter nearly a week later, the report continued. The cats were “subjected to deplorable living conditions, fleas, flies, maggots and lack of food and water.”
Nolan is charged with five counts of cruelty to or neglect of a child. She is currently out on a $5,000 surety bond pending her next court date, which is scheduled for late January.
Holloway II is charged with two counts of child endangerment and five counts of cruelty to or neglect of a child, as well as one count each of unnecessary cruelty to
animals resulting in death and unnecessary cruelty to animals. He was granted $50,000 personal recognizance and ordered to return to court in February.