Nearly three months ago, 15-year-old Daniel Gale was found dead in a swamp in McIntosh County.
Just last week, his stepdad Brian Gale was charged with his death.
Daniel's mother, Susan Gale, says Brian Gale is the one who left Daniel in the swamp. But she says she doesn't think he did it maliciously. "I think he made some wrong decisions that cost my son his life. But I don't think any of them were malicious or premeditated," Susan Gale said.
On March 7th, Daniel Gale went hunting with his stepdad. The two were supposed to be back by six or seven o'clock. "Once it got past ten I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong," Susan Gale said.
Police say Brian Gale turned up at a house near the swamp in the early morning hours of March 8th. Susan Gale says her husband was shivering from a cold night in the swamp and didn't seem to be thinking clearly.
"He didn't say anything other than I'm sorry. Those were the first words out of his mouth. I'm so sorry," Susan Gale said.
Police say Brian Gale left Daniel in a cold, dark, wooded swamp. Searchers later found him dead. Susan Gale says an autopsy showed his lungs were filled with water.
"Daniel's biggest fears were the dark and drowning and it's ironic that in the end that's what killed him. He was in the dark alone and scared," Susan Gale said.
Susan Gale says she and her husband are separated, but she says she forgives him.
She says her faith is strong and she finds comfort knowing her son is in Heaven. "I have peace with where he is, but what I don't have peace with is the last minutes of his life and what he went through and just how terrified and scared he must have been," Susan Gale said.
A McIntosh County judge decided to release Brian Gale on his own recognizance. A Grand Jury will decide if there's enough evidence to send this case to trial.