Toronto Star

May. 28, 01:00 EDT

Baby drowns in tub, mother charged

7-month-old left unattended for 15 minutes, police say

Carly Foster and Mary Gordon
Toronto Star

A Mississauga woman has been charged with criminal negligence causing death after her 7-month-old son was found dead in a baby bathtub yesterday.

The mother, who has two other children, was alone with the boy at the Morningstar Dr. apartment when she frantically called 911. Paramedics arrived at the seven-storey building near Goreway Dr. around 11 a.m. and found the child, named Nathaniel, lifeless on a bed.

"He was a cute little thing, really big, curly eyebrows, curly hair, big and healthy," said Tyra Biereonwu, a neighbour.

The baby was left unattended in his baby tub inside the apartment bathtub for 15 minutes, said Inspector Tom Slinger of Peel Region police's homicide bureau.

The baby tub a metre by 45 centimetres by 25 centimetres deep was equipped with two bars, one in front of the chest, the other between the legs, Slinger added.

The mother's next-door neighbour, Zeleene Resheed, said she heard pounding on her door early yesterday morning. She answered but found no one there. She said she went inside and tried to call the woman but the line was busy.

Resheed went back into the hall and the woman re-emerged, saying, "Oh my God, Nathaniel drowned."

Resheed followed the woman into the apartment and saw the baby on the bed.

"He was blue when I saw him," Resheed said.

Resheed said the woman told her she had gone down the hall into the living room to do some homework, leaving the boy strapped into his baby tub, which was sitting inside the large bathtub with the water taps on.

Rasheed said the woman told her that she forgot the water was running, Resheed said.

Police would not confirm anyone's account of why the baby was left alone, saying their information cannot be released until the woman appears in court.

"What she was doing at the time is considered evidence and would taint the public if this goes to trial," said Constable Harry Tam, Peel's media relations officer.

"If you have care of a 7-month-old baby, you have a responsibility to support him and prevent him from harm," Slinger said.

Lesia Brown, 27, was to appear in a Brampton court today.

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