KEWAUNEE – An Algoma woman on charges of her 7 month old daughter drowning in the bathtub is currently being held in Kewaunee County Jail on a $ 5,000 cash loan after court questions were asked about her ability to to meet the terms of the signature loan originally given to her.
Cheyanne J. Wierichs, 23, is on trial in Kewaunee County Circuit Court for child neglect resulting in death, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of methamphetamine after her daughter died on February 9.
After being indicted at a February 22 hearing, Wierichs was released on a $ 25,000 signature loan. Among other things, she was required to maintain absolute sobriety, take prescription drugs only as prescribed, conduct an alcohol and drug abuse assessment and follow recommendations, and arrange contact or visits with her surviving child through the County Department of Human Services, among other things.
But at Wierichs’ first hearing on Thursday – reset from her previously scheduled appearance on Feb.25 because she did not have a public defender to represent her at the time – District Attorney Andrew Naze asked the court to convert her bond into $ 5,000 for cash.
Naze said the personnel department had told him that the Wierichs did not take their responsibility in the context of the signature binding seriously and did not communicate with them or work with them. He also noted that Wierichs was more than 50 minutes late for Thursday’s hearing.
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Defense attorney Amanda Toonen, who represented Wierichs, said on a conference call that Wierichs’ trip to the courthouse was late and that she was working through a drug abuse program offered by the Oneida Nation to join the inpatient program. Toonen asked for the bond to remain unchanged.
“She grieves in ways some of us cannot understand,” Toonen said. “I disagree that she’s not taking this seriously.”
Judge Keith Mehn, however, granted Naze’s request for the loan to be issued in lieu of the signature loan, saying the questions raised since Wierichs signed the loan had questioned her ability or willingness to meet her requirements.
Naze and Toonen said if Wierichs were accepted into an inpatient program by Oneida Nation, they would work together to release Wierichs for it.
The criminal complaint against Wierichs said Algoma officials responded to a call to an apartment on the 400 block of Fourth Avenue about an infant who had no pulse and was not breathing. Attempts by an officer and later by fire and rescue personnel from Algoma to resuscitate the child, Wierich’s 7-month-old daughter, were unsuccessful.
Wierichs first informed the officers that she had put her two children in a bathroom and worked in the kitchen for a few minutes. When she returned, she found that the child was drowning.
However, the complaint later said Wierichs changed her story and told investigators that she watched some videos on YouTube while the kids were in the bathtub and then left the bathroom for a few minutes to plug their phone into a speaker . After hearing a full song, she heard splashing from the bathroom and returned to find the drowning child.
A search warrant executed in the apartment found meth and related paraphernalia.
Wierichs was arrested on February 15 and charged with the three crimes a week later. Her next scheduled appearance in court is a preliminary hearing on April 29th at 11:30 am.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900, or [email protected].