The man accused of neglect resulting in the death of his 2-year-old daughter during Thanksgiving weekend in 2021 was granted a fifth continuance of a change of plea hearing that had been scheduled for Monday.
Jeremy W. Sweet, 40, of 1415 N. County Road 850E, is accused of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death related to the drowning death of his daughter, Emma Sweet. Her body was recovered following a massive search after Jeremy Sweet’s truck was found in the East Fork White River and the girl had been reported missing.
Sweet, who is being held in lieu of $1.2 million bond in the Bartholomew County Jail, was not transported from the jail for his scheduled hearing on Monday in Bartholomew Superior Court 1. He now has a change of plea hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 9, a pretrial hearing set for 11 a.m. Oct. 23, and a jury trial now set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 31.
If convicted of the most serious charge against him, Sweet faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. He also is charged with a Level 6 felony count of unlawful possession of a syringe.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Sweet is accused of driving his truck off a 15-to-20 foot embankment in the 1700 block of Blessing Road into East Fork White River on or about Nov. 24, 2021. Emma was buckled into her child safety seat as the cab became submerged in about 3 to 5 feet of water, the affidavit states.
Sweet initially told investigators he dropped his daughter off at a convenience store. But court documents state the defendant later admitted using methamphetamine and marijuana hours before he decided to go four-wheeling in a dark farm field. The defendant told police he had gotten lost before the truck went over the embankment.
The defendant said he had unbuckled Emma and placed her on either the roof or hood before “losing her” at some point, the affidavit states. He was found asleep inside the submerged truck’s cab when four duck hunters found the pickup on Friday, Nov. 26. During a search, first respondents located a syringe and an empty corner cut baggie (drug paraphernalia) on Sweet’s person, the affidavit states.
Emma’s body was found on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 about 2½ miles downstream from where the submerged truck was found. An autopsy was unable to determine whether Emma died of hypothermia or drowning, according to court documents. Since then, her father has remained in the Bartholomew County Jail.