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Police: Teen should be charged in son's drowning

March 25, 2009

Avondale police say the 16-year-old mother of an infant who drowned in a bathtub in Avondale should face child abuse charges.

The Avondale Police Department submitted its investigation to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office with recommendations to charge the teenage mother with felony child abuse in the death of her 8-month-old son.

The mother's name is being withheld because she is a minor.

"The county attorney determines what charges will be filed, if any, and whether she will be charged as an adult or as a juvenile," said Rick Rodriguez, an Avondale police spokesman. "They make all those decisions . . . We just find all the facts."

About 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21, the mother placed baby Elijah James in the bathtub, turned on the water and left the room, police said. The mother's 9-year-old brother came home, heard the water running and found the baby face down in the water.

The two siblings took the baby to a neighbor's house and the neighbor called 911 and started CPR, police said. Elijah was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, where he was pronounced dead later.

It wasn't clear how long the mother was out of the bathroom, but Avondale Fire-Rescue Chief Art Snapp said "it was a fairly long period of time." Snap alluded to "a statement made at some point that she had forgotten about the baby."


Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Jackee Coe
©Copyright 2009 Arizona Republic

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