Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley named Kristal Shackleford of Mesa as a suspect in the drowning of her 2-year-old son for the first time in the ongoing investigation during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Derek Chappell, who admitted to drowning Devon Hinman Seeley on March 11 in an apartment complex pool, told Mesa police early in the investigation that Shackleford masterminded the plot. Shackleford, 22, has denied involvement in her son’s death.
Up until now, Shackleford has only been called an investigative lead.
"Yes, the mother is a suspect in that case, and if I have enough evidence I will go against her as well," Romley told reporters Thursday.
Mesa police detective Tim Gaffney said the remark would not change Mesa’s investigation.
"From the beginning, since Derek Chappell was arrested, she has been considered a lead," Gaffney said. "The investigation is active and we are continuing onward."
The toddler was found floating face down in the pool shortly after Shackleford called 911 early March 11 to report she had just awakened to find her front door open and her son was missing.