Family says Durham father charged in 3-year-old's drowning needed help

DURHAM (WTVD) -- The family of the father of a 3-year-old girl who died after being thrown into a Durham pond says he needed help.

After 29-year-old Alan Lassiter had his first court appearance Friday for the upgraded charge of first-degree murder in the death of Calista Lassiter, his family told ABC11 they are devastated by what happened, but they also shed light on mental issues Lassiter had.

"Calista was a very good girl ... was a very pretty little girl ... she was good," Bobby Lassiter said tearfully.

Authorities have said Lassiter threw his 3-year-old, along with her 5-year-old sister, into the water on Shearwater Drive shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday.


Their 7-year-old brother was able to get away and run for help, according to police.

Witnesses said Lassiter screamed for help after the boy got away and admitted to trying to drown his daughters in a 911 call.

He reportedly told the operator his children were going to be taken away because of issues he had, such as pedophilia desires. He complained he didn't get the help he sought.

"He was going through some things obviously that he felt like he didn't get help with," Lassiter's nephew Andre Knight said. "Even if he did get some help, he probably felt like that wasn't the help that he needed.

Bobby Lassiter said his brother had sought mental help at a recovery center, but was released too soon.

"He needed help. They released him too fast ... due to insurance ... they shouldn't turn nobody down," he said.

Lassiter's next court date is Oct. 13.

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