Toronto Sun

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Tot dies, mother charged

By JONATHAN JENKINS, TORONTO SUN

MISSISSAUGA -- A young mother who turned away from her baby to finish her homework was charged yesterday with criminal negligence after the infant drowned.

"She was banging her head against the door," neighbour Zaleena Rasheed said of her friend Lesia Brown.

"She was crying 'Oh, baby, oh, baby. Nathaniel's drowned.' "

Brown, 27, was taken into custody by Peel Regional Police shortly after they arrived at an apartment block near Goreway Dr. and Morning Star Dr. about 10:40 a.m. and found seven-month-old Nathaniel Brown dead.

"I think the important issue is that you have a responsibility -- both a legal and a moral responsibility -- to care for your children," Peel police homicide Insp. Tom Slinger said.

TRAGEDY FOR THE FAMILY

"If they are unable to care for themselves because of their age, you have to protect them and keep them from harm.

"It's a tragic event for the family as a whole but people have a responsibility that they have to live up to."

No one but mother and child were home at the time of the tragedy, Slinger said.

Brown, who lives with her husband Donovan, a six-year-old son and a 16-year-old step-daughter, was working part-time at a hospital and studying to finish her nursing education, Rasheed said.

Nathaniel was a happy and very well-behaved child, Rasheed said.

Slinger said the infant tub Brown was using to bathe Nathaniel was fitted with a bar to prevent him from sliding down but it didn't work.

He was left alone for about 15 minutes, he said.

Brown is to appear in Brampton court today on one count of criminal negligence causing death.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.