Former student shocked after professor charged in son’s death

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College professor Timothy Koets is facing charges after the drowning death of his 16-year-old son who had autism.

On Friday, Timothy Koets was charged with manslaughter and child abuse after his son was found unresponsive in the family’s pool back in March.

The allegations against Koets is shocking enough to strangers let alone his former students.

"I was up pretty late into the night, trying to understand how this could happen. How could someone that was so nice and caring to his students be the way that it seems he was at home," GRCC Student Christopher Talbot said.

Talbot is Koets' former student who was in his class when Koets' son died.

"When it happened he sent out an email and posted on the course online sort of explaining what had happened. It was pretty intense, there were a few things that didn’t make sense, that’s kind of strange that things would happen in that way," Talbot said.

"But I wasn’t going to question it right? Because his son just died, that’s not a time for asking questions, digging into the story, so I just wanted to help out," Talbot added.

Talbot started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Koets and his family.

Talbot says the professor was appreciative but expressed concerns with the news coverage of his son's death.

"He took that as an attack on him it seemed and he told us in the letter and also me personally that he wanted to minimize the coverage, I gave him access the GoFundMe so that he was also in control of what it said. He was pretty adamant in making sure it was clearly an accident," Talbot explained.

Talbot provided FOX 17 with an email, in it Koets tells Talbot, “I made a small revision to what you posted because we have powers at work who may be trying to make it appear this was more than simply what it was, a tragic accident."

"Looking back at it, in this new context it is definitely strange," Talbot said.

Now seven months after the incident, Koets' arrest is raising even more questions for those that know him.

"Why would he try to get us to cover it up or look away from the bad coverage, why would he return to work a week after his son died, looking back its kind of scary," Talbot said.

According to Talbot the GoFundMe page was shut down  and none of the money was withdrawn.

Koets will be back in court next month, and police say this investigation is far from over.


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