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Jeff Flock: 'More questions than answers' in children's drowning

CNN's Jeff Flock
CNN's Jeff Flock

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CLINTON, Illinois (CNN) -- Authorities in Illinois are investigating the deaths of three young children, who died after the car they were in rolled down a boat ramp and into Clinton Lake. Their mother, who was present but not inside the car, called police who are now trying to figure out how the tragedy unfolded.

CNN correspondent Jeff Flock is in Clinton, where he spoke with anchor Bill Hemmer about the police investigation.

FLOCK: Indeed, lots more questions than answers this morning in connection with this case, but now some of the answers perhaps are beginning to emerge.

Here is what we know, though. Indeed, three children are dead this morning -- ages 1, 3 and 6. They were pulled from a car in Lake Clinton. That's not far from where we stand here in downtown Clinton this morning. That took place Tuesday night.

Indeed, the mother, a 28-year-old woman, Amanda Hamm, also of Clinton, apparently called 911 from a phone at the boat ramp to report that the children were trapped in the car. Emergency workers coming on the scene and pulling them out -- all dead, though.

The DeWitt County, Illinois, sheriff, Roger Massey, was telling me last night this is being investigated as "a very serious incident." He would release few details beyond that at this point other than to say that they want to reconstruct the scene and be very methodical about this.

But we have learned this morning that a 28-year-old man named Maurice Lagrone -- he is believed to be the boyfriend of the mother -- was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of drugs. No other charges beyond that, and he has apparently bonded out and been released.

Sheriff Massey would not tell us what efforts were made on the part of either the mother or this other man to rescue the children. Again, he says it is a very serious incident, and they expect that perhaps they will have more to say on this later this afternoon.

They met until about midnight last night, will reconvene again this morning, and maybe by afternoon, Bill, we'll have some more answers in this as to just what happened to those three children.

HEMMER: I don't want to put you on the spot. Any record for this woman and history?

FLOCK: No. And, in fact, it is believed that her mother works for the local county prosecutor, so that may be also delaying the investigation in that they want to be very careful, if there is any connection there, perhaps to appoint a special prosecutor to make sure that nothing looks fishy in that way.

But I talked to one person who knows this woman who said she was a good mother, did a good job with her kids, so I guess we'll see.


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