WARREN (Erie News Now) – A Warren County mother has pleaded guilty to charges filed after her toddler went missing in August and drowned in the Allegheny River.
Patti Jo Vargason, 40, of Tidioute, pleaded guilty on Thursday to a count of endangering the welfare of a child.
It started Aug. 21, 2021, when Vargason called 911 to report she believed her daughter, which she identified to Erie News Now as 2-year-old Izzy, was in the Allegheny River and could not be located.
Vargason told the trooper investigating the case that one of her sons – a 5 year old – was with Izzy when she had gone into the Allegheny River. During the investigation, the trooper asked him where Izzy went into the river, and the 5 year old showed the trooper a dock across the street from the residence.
State Police and a helicopter, a K9 tracking dog, several volunteer fire department members, and neighbors participated in the search. Izzy was found about 11:45 a.m. the next day about one-mile downstream from where she fell into the water, investigators said.
During an interview, Vargason told the trooper she last saw the victim around 10:20-10:30 a.m. when Izzy was sleeping next to her bed, and she could hear the other children playing downstairs. She said her son woke her up around 11 a.m. screaming Izzy fell into the river, the criminal complaint said.
Vargason said the 5 year old took her down to the dock to show her where he and Izzy were sitting, the complaint said. He told her Izzy fell in and he tried to get her, but he could not, according to investigators.