Photos of Sam Koets taken shortly before he drowned in his family's backyard pool
Sam Koets was snapped shortly before drowning in his family’s backyard pool. The 16 year-old suffered severe autism which left him with the mental capacities of a two year-old child

A harrowing photograph shows the distressing final moments of a disabled boy with autism who drowned in an icy backyard pool.

Sam Koets, 16, died in Ottawa County, Michigan, in March this year, with a court shown snaps of his final dip during his dad’s court hearing Thursday.

Timothy Koets is accused of involuntary manslaughter after leaving Sam, who had the mental capacity of a two year-old, in the care of his siblings so he could go to work.

Sam’s mother Michelle, a registered nurse, was fast asleep in bed at the time after working a night shift.

The Koets’s above ground pool was up to a foot deep in places, with Sam getting into trouble after going for a dip during freezing weather.

Photo of Sam before his death
It is unclear exactly how Sam ended up drowning, but his father Timothy Koets has since been charged with negligent manslaughter

It is unclear how the youngster ended up drowning.

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WOOD reported that Timothy Koets responded to the text with the photo of Sam from his daughter by saying ‘make sure the freak is ok.’

Prosecutors argue that it would be negligent to leave a two year-old unattended in similar circumstances, and that Timothy Koets should be treated as if he had done just that.

They spoke at a probable cause hearing Thursday to determine whether or not Koets should face a full criminal trial.

A pediatrician who treated Sam was among those who paid tribute to his parents’ care for the youngster, MLive reported.

Mugshot of Timothy Koets
An ongoing probable cause hearing will now decide whether or not Timothy Koets should face an involuntary manslaughter trial

Dr Ruel Lirio said: ‘Yes, I think Tim and Michelle are very appropriate, always very concerned about Sam’s acute problems and also his behavioral issues.’

Local child protective services agent Kim Wolf also took the stand Thursday, and told the court she had warned Timothy Koets that Sam could not be left without direct supervision four years before his death.

Judge Judy Mulder will rule on whether Koets should face a full trial after hearing all the evidence.

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