Death of 14-month-old Isle of Wight girl found unresponsive in bathtub ruled accidental

Posted at 11:34 PM, Oct 15, 2014
and last updated 2015-01-30 15:02:56-05

UPDATE:  A Medical Examiner has ruled the September 24th death of 13-month-old Haven Sherman as an accidental drowning. There were no other injuries or trauma to the child to indicate any type of abuse or neglect. This was simply a horrible accident and no charges will be filed.

On September 24th, 2014, Isle of Wight investigators say the girl's father, James Sherman, put Haven in a bathtub, ran the water and then left.

“Haven was just like her name,” says Elizabeth Butler, Haven’s grandmother. “Haven means heaven.”

With a jeweled princess crown on her head, Haven Sherman celebrates her first birthday. She’s wearing the crown in a picture of her from that day, four months before she died.

“My daughter found her and she got to call 911 and she didn`t know CPR,” Butler says. “She did not know CPR.”

Investigators believe Sherman was distracted. Court documents say after putting Haven in the tub, Sherman went to the kitchen to put something in the oven. He then walked outside to talk with a friend in the driveway, and then went into the garage to work on a stereo.

Records say Sherman heard someone screaming his name; when he went inside, he discovered Haven unresponsive with her mother. The affidavit says the tub was filled to the top with water.

“I don`t know what diverted his attention to make him go outside, but his mind was not on the most important thing,” Butler says. “His mind was not where it should have been.”

Butler owns the home on Carroll Bridge Road where her daughter, Sherman, and Butler’s three granddaughters stayed. They have since moved out.

“I had to tell the ten year old and the seven year old that she had gone to heaven to be with Jesus,” Butler says.

“She was a precious little baby, always happy,” Butler says. “Very happy little girl. It was a careless accident. I don`t know how to describe it.”

NewsChannel 3 spoke with James Sherman off camera. He told us he was scatterbrained that night and will now have to live with what happened every day for the rest of his life.