Grandmother accused of trying to drown grandson

Arburne Jeanine Benson, 46, is charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to drown her seven-year-old grandson

August 18, 2011 4:28:59 PM PDT
A northeast Houston woman is in custody, accused of trying to drown her own grandson. The child's mother is currently in jail.

Investigators say it's rare that a grandmother is accused of trying to kill their grandchild, but not unheard of. In this case, though, the grandmother's relatives are coming to her defense.

Investigators say it was in a northeast Houston house that on August 7, Auburne Jeanine Benson, 46, tried to drown her own seven-year-old grandson. On Thursday, Benson's mother-in-law and sister-in-law defended her.

"Unfair," said her mother-in-law Velma Benson. "I don't believe she did it."

Benson's sister-in-law Jackie Benson added, "I don't think she would do that type of thing. She's too nice."

But investigators paint a different picture. They say Benson was caring for her grandson because her daughter is currently in prison. She grew frustrated and tired of the situation, they say, so on August 7, she asked her grandson to get into the bathtub.

"She had him get in the bathtub, and she pushed his head underwater and tried to hold it down for several seconds, and he was able to kind of fight back and get out of the bathtub," said prosecutor Lori DeAngelo.

Benson then allegedly called her sister, describing what happened. Counselors at the Children's Assessment Center spoke with the little boy, who has since been placed with other relatives.

Neighbors say Benson spent her days transporting and caring for several elderly clients, and they never expected anything like this.

"In the one conversation I had with her, he was very important to her," said neighbor Patricia Elliot. "She was keeping her grandson."

Benson is not yet under arrest, and her relatives say she may not even be aware that she's being charged with attempted murder.

"She knew they'd been investigating, but she didn't know they were going to charge," Velma told Eyewitness News.

Neighbors say Benson was seen Thursday morning going about her regular routine.

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