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Prosecutors on Thursday charged the stepmother of a 2-year-old who drowned in a bathtub in January with felony child abuse.

Jacqueline Lampkin Cooley, 28, faces as many as 20 years in prison if she is convicted in Jase Queen’s death.

Court documents say Lampkin Cooley was bathing him in about 10 inches of water on Jan. 7 when she left the room to get a towel. She couldn't find one and told police she returned a couple of minutes later with a pillowcase and found the toddler face down in the water, according to court documents.

She said she pulled him out, saw that he was turning blue and screamed for his father, then did CPR until rescue workers arrived, documents say. His father, William Cooley, and other family members were in the home at 1224 N. 26th St. at the time.

Jase was small for his age and had Down syndrome, according to court documents and his biological mother, Tabitha Davis, who lives in Texas.

He was hospitalized and declared brain dead on Jan. 13.

Lincoln police arrested Lampkin Cooley Wednesday.

A probable cause affidavit for her arrest says police learned she frequently left Jase and her other young children alone in the bathtub. In November, the document says, she left Jase unattended and he had turned blue but was revived.

A family member told police Lampkin Cooley had to be reminded on a regular basis to not leave the children alone in the tub.

A search of cellphones and Facebook accounts found multiple pictures of Jase with various injuries including a black eye, bruising, cuts on his face and bite marks, documents say. The pictures were taken between June and December 2015.

In January, Lancaster County Juvenile Judge Reggie Ryder ordered the Cooleys' six kids, ages 15 months to 13 years, be placed in foster care.

The two were cited for misdemeanor child neglect in October after officers investigating an anonymous tip found the children filthy and the home unsanitary, documents said.

Prosecutors dropped those charges in December when the couple agreed to complete a diversion program.

Lampkin Cooley appeared in court Thursday from the Lancaster County jail via video monitor. A judge appointed the Lancaster County Public Defender’s office to represent her and set bond at $25,000.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7395 or

On Twitter @LJSNicholeManna.

Riley Johnson contributed to this report.


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