It was supposed to see a fun sightseeing cruise along the coast of Orange County last Sunday, but customers got more than they bargained for when an angry father allegedly tossed his son overboard.
Several shocked people witnessed Sloane Briles, 35, hitting his son several times and then threatening to throw the boy overboard if he didn’t stop crying.
“The crowd on the boat became very angry at the father for hitting the kid and extremely angry when he threw him overboard,” sheriff’s spokesman, Jim Amormino, told KTLA.
Police believe Briles had been drinking when he, his girlfriend and two sons from a previous marriage went on the cruise around Newport Harbor on a boat carrying 85 people. Briles argued with his girlfriend and then the son. That’s when staff members on the tour boat witnessed Briles tell his crying 7-year-old he needed to toughen up and threw the boy in the water five feet below.
Charlie Maas, who oversees the touring operation was terrified. “Right in the middle of a sunny weekend afternoon in August there is a lot of boat traffic out there,” Maas said. “That could have been fatally dangerous.”
Someone on the boat threw the boy a life ring, and he was rescued by another boater. The father also eventually jumped in to save him.
At least two witnesses called 911 and Sloane Briles was taken into custody for child endangerment and resisting arrest, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said. The two boys were returned to their mother who has not commented on the incident.
As the Huffington Post reports, it’s been a rough year for Briles. “Family court filings showed Briles lost his job in the mortgage industry in 2007 and got another job, but was injured and drew workers compensation. He successfully petitioned to get his child support obligation reduced and tried for a second reduction, which his ex-wife, Christin, opposed.”
Briles was found in contempt for not paying child support in 2009 and pleaded guilty. According to court records he was sentenced to three years of probation.
If I was the mother of those children I would immediately file for full custody and not let dad have unsupervised visits. What kind of nutcase throws his crying son off a boat? If he’s capable of those kind of actions in public, it scares the crap out of me to wonder what he does to those boys behind closed doors.
Here’s KTLA’s report on the incident:
Image: Orange County Sheriff’s Department
The Will to Change: Choosing a guardian for your child