Boy, 4, dies in tragic accident

GUSTIN TOWNSHIP – The Alcona County Sheriff’s Office is putting together a special review team after a 4-year-old boy died Sunday afternoon in a dairy farm septic tank.

Alcona County Sheriff Doug Atchison said Monday the case was a tragedy.

“Our investigation is indicating there doesn’t appear to be any wrong-doing,” Atchison said.

The accident unfolded when the youngster was discovered missing Sunday afternoon at the farm on McConnell Road in Gustin Township. He was identified by a funeral home as Connor Michael Kasubowski. He and his mother, Ashley MacNeill-Kasubowski, had been visiting the owners of the farm.

When deputies arrived, they were told the child had been missing for an hour and were shown a spot where Connor’s shoe had been found near the tank, which was used to collect animal waste, Atchison said. A hole in the tank was uncovered.

The deputies then called the Alcona County search and rescue team, and members pulled the child from the tank. Atchison said they began CPR and transported the child to the St. Joseph Health System emergency room in Tawas City, where he was pronounced dead.

Atchison said he will begin today to put together a special Child Death Review board, which will include representatives from the Michigan State Police, emergency management, the sheriff’s department, community mental health, school district, prosecutor and the medical examiner.

“It is their responsibility to look into the circumstances of the death of a child and see if there is anything to potentially prevent this type of accident from happening in the future,” Atchison said.

Officials said the case is somewhat similar to one that occurred Sept. 17, 2010, when 5-year-old Kory Dault fell into a residential septic tank equipped with a Fiberglass dome as a lid. Despite an extensive search that night, the child wasn’t found until around 7 a.m. the next day, said Michigan State Police Sgt. Detective Steve Harshberger.

The boy had been seen running around the property on the 13000 block of East Grand Lake Road, and the family conducted its own search before calling law enforcement that evening at around 7:25 p.m.

During the search in the darkness, a rescuer actually fell into the septic system up to his knee and had to be treated for injuries, Harshberger said. But the child’s body was not discovered until daylight.

Harshberger said the prosecutor declined to file any formal charges this spring, and the case is inactive.

The detective said his department had received reports from septic service companies about the risks of newer tanks covered with the dome-shaped lid. The top must be secured with screws, and then buried with dirt. But some residents don’t take the time to complete this step, because the screws can be hard to work.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.