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Crime & Courts

Tampa mom charged after infant drowns in bathtub

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Published:   |   Updated: April 30, 2013 at 07:32 PM

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A Tampa mother was charged Monday with manslaughter and was being held with no bail after deputies said her 7-month-old drowned while unattended in a bathtub.

Deputies said Sierra Latara McMillan, 22, 14512 Seaford Circle, had placed the infant in a bathtub and started the water about 4:15 p.m. Sunday when she left the water running to answer her apartment door for a solicitor.

The solicitor told deputies that while inside the home he could hear water running and an infant crying, but the crying stopped a few minutes later.

The solicitor told deputies that McMillan went into the bathroom about 15 to 20 minutes later to turn off the water. The solicitor told deputies McMillan returned with her arms and the front of her shirt wet.

The solicitor remained in the apartment a few more minutes until McMillan asked him to return another time, deputies said.

The solicitor said he left the apartment, then saw deputies and emergency personnel arrive at the apartment. After the emergency crews left, he told deputies what he had observed while in the home.

An autopsy listed the infant’s death as an accidental drowning, deputies said.

McMillan was arrested Monday without incident and was being held at the Falkenburg Road jail, deputies said.

McMillan was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child because she knew she left the child alone in a potentially hazardous situation, sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said.

“She had knowledge that the baby was in the bathtub and was left alone with the water running for 15 to 20 minutes,” McKinnon said.

Sunday’s drowning differs from the cases of a toddler wandering away from caregivers and accidentally drowning in the family pool, he said.

In those cases, the parents are unaware that their child slipped out of the house, he said.

McMillan leaving the infant in the bathtub is like a parent “swimming with a 1-year-old, leaving the baby in the water to go inside and do something in the house, then coming back to find the baby incapacitated,” McKinnon said.

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