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Dad allegedly took smoke break while 8-month-old son drowned

Updated: September 27, 2012 6:14PM

A South Side man is facing child endangerment charges after his 8-month-old son drowned in the bathtub while he allegedly walked away for a cigarette break.

Jayshaun Strong’s mother came home from school late Monday afternoon and saw the child floating face up in the bathtub with his eyes wide open, assistant Cook County state’s attorney Richard Gleason said.

The woman also saw Jayshaun’s older 2-year-old brother sitting in the six-inches of water when she went to use the bathroom, authorities said.

Just a few minutes before she walked into the apartment, in the 6300 block of South Martin Luther King Drive, she saw the children’s father, Willie Strong, 30, sitting in the front room by the computer, Gleason said at Strong’s bond hearing Thursday.

The 24-year-old mother pulled her younger son from the bathtub and started CPR. She also called 911 before an ambulance rushed Jayshaun to Comer’s Children’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Gleason said.

Strong allegedly told police he put his sons in the bath around 2:30 p.m. and left them alone for roughly 10 minutes so he could smoke a cigarette.

He said he was still smoking the cigarette when the children’s mother came home around 3:30 p.m., Gleason said.

According to a police report, the children were left unattended for 20 minutes.

Strong, who had been living at the apartment on a part-time basis, was the only person watching the children while their mother was at school.

Judge Edward Harmening ordered Strong held on $100,000 bail Thursday.

Strong has a prior felony possession of a controlled substance conviction.

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