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Parents charged with taking dead son's prescription drugs appear in court

Timothy Koets will also stand trial for child abuse and involuntary manslaughter for the death of his son, Samuel.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — An Ottawa County couple accused of filling their autistic son's prescriptions – and taking the drugs – for months after his death appeared in court Friday. 

Timothy and Michelle Koets' 16-year-old son, Samuel, drowned in the family's pool at their Georgetown Township home last March. He had severe autism and the functioning level of 13-17 months, according to court records. 

Police say the two refilled Samuel's Ritalin prescription nearly 10 times following his death. Tim Koets was formally charged with three felonies, including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and health care fraud. Michelle was charged with a misdemeanor. 

Read more: Husband and wife accused of filling son's prescriptions after he died

"I don't know a lot of the details yet," said David Kallman, a Lansing-based attorney representing Tim Koets. "I was aware of the fact that [Sam] was on prescriptions, but what happened after he passed away is new information we will have to look into."

Koets was ordered to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter last month. Judge Judy Mulder added two counts of child abuse to the charges Friday. She dismissed the third count of second-degree child abuse in the presence of another child.

Read more: Father ordered to stand trial for manslaughter after son with autism drowns in family pool

"It's very unfortunate his daughter had to find her brother alone in the pool in the way that she did, but the act of child abuse on behalf of Timothy Koets was not done with his other child present," Mulder said. 

Kallman argued that Tim Koets was not acting recklessly when he left Sam in the care of Michelle, who was asleep when her son got in the pool.

"That's why I do not believe he is guilty of the charges," he said. "The elements don't fit."

Tim Koets will be arraigned in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Jan. 27 at 8:30 a.m.

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