Grand jury: Mother, 2 children found in creek died of hypothermi - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Grand jury: Mother, 2 children found in creek died of hypothermia

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Brandon and Katelyn Clutter (left) Jamie Clutter (right) Brandon and Katelyn Clutter (left) Jamie Clutter (right)
Keith Henderson Keith Henderson
Brandon and Katelyn Clutter Brandon and Katelyn Clutter

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - The conclusion of a Floyd County grand jury that the deaths of a New Albany mother and her children were an accident officially closes the case, according to a prosecutor.

According to Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, hypothermia is to blame for the March 13 deaths of Jaime Clutter, 35, and her two children Brandon Clutter, 10, and Katelyn Clutter, 6 months.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Police to release new information in Clutter family deaths]

Henderson said based on the evidence he's seen, it's the most logical explanation in a case that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

"We all want answers and we want to know what happened and rightfully so, but sometimes we can't do that," he said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: New Albany man struggling with deaths of wife and 2 children]

The closest he can come, Henderson said is to look at what the experts have to said and that is that hypothermia can make us do things we wouldn't otherwise consider.

"You have to have a mental intent to commit a crime," he said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Clutter family mourned by hundreds]

On the March day Jaime, Brandon and Katelyn died, temperatures were in the 30s and snow flurries were in the air.

According to Princeton University, prolonged exposure to cold can cause irrational behavior including, as it appeared Jaime did, taking off clothes.

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"(People) can become very confused, disoriented and in cases, start to disrobe because they actually believe that they're extremely hot," Henderson said.

Just how long the family was outside is unclear. Henderson said sometime after her husband Mike left for work around five that morning, Jaime left the apartment, leaving behind her own eyeglasses and all of their winter coats. He said it appeared they left suddenly.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Police: New Albany mother died after drowning children]

"What happened that morning, we're not certain, but something caused her great concern or frightened her to leave the apartment," he said.

Just after 7 a.m., she knocked on a neighbor's door.

"It appeared that she wanted to come into the home with the children, that she was concerned about something, looking around, appeared to be disturbed," said Henderson.

Hours later, they were found in the creek. Henderson said there were no signs of a struggle and no signs that Brandon, who by all accounts was smart and engaging, was held underwater or fought off anyone. All of that, he said led the grand jury to its conclusion. "They do not believe that Jaime Clutter killed her two children nor do they believe that Jaime Clutter drowned her two children and finally they don't believe that Jaime Clutter committed suicide," he said.

Henderson said it's difficult to tell if the conclusions of the New Albany Police investigation that Jaime Clutter suffered from either post-partum depression or psychosis were accurate because there were no mental health records. He added that although friends said she had expressed concerns about what was going on in the world and the crowded family living in a new apartment, no one ever thought the children were in danger.

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