Mother of baby drowned in bathtub gets 40 years in prison

Muriel Keer was on Facebook as baby drowned

DENVER - A 41-year-old Denver woman was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the death of 10-month-old son who was left in a filling bathtub while the mother logged on Facebook in another room.

Muriel Keer was sentenced Friday to 36 years for child abuse resulting in death and four years for a probation revocation on a drug case, according to Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

The charge alleges that on Sept. 20, 2011, Keer left her son Aldrich Leathers alone in a bathtub with the water running while she was on her computer.  

Zachery Hopkins told police he was visiting his boyfriend, who rented a basement room in Keer's house. The two men went outside to smoke cigarettes.

Hopkins said he went inside to use the bathroom and saw Keer on the computer in the kitchen, according to the arrest affidavit.

In the bathroom, Hopkins said he found the baby boy lying face-up under the surface of the water with toys floating around him, the affidavit said.

The faucet was still running into the brimming tub and water was flowing into an overflow drain, an arrest affidavit said.

Hopkins said he lifted the unconscious infant from the water and called 911, the affidavit said.  The boy was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.

Neighbors told 7NEWS they heard the mother screaming, "Not my baby!" as the limp child was carried to an ambulance.

The baby was born while the mother was in jail over methamphetamine charges and was placed in foster care.

Two months later, the baby was returned to Keer who was ordered to complete parenting classes and substance abuse treatment.

For Aldrich's first month at home, an in-home monitoring service was checking up on Keer and her infant, 7NEWS learned. Denver Human Services deemed the transition a success and closed its case.

After that, the only official watching Keer was her probation officer.