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3-year-old drowns in Florida pool after allegedly being unsupervised for more than 4 hours

Posted: 4:56 PM, May 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-10 12:20:45Z

LUTZ, Fla. — A Florida mother was arrested after her 3-year-old daughter drowned in a Lutz pool.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, on March 10 at 9:45 p.m., 30-year-old Caitlin Joy Powell arrived at her job at JT's Road House bar in Tampa. At the beginning of her shift, she allegedly took a 15mg pill of morphine prescribed to her by a doctor. At about midnight she took another half pill in the same shift.

Powell also reportedly drank four to five shots of Bailey's Irish Cream and butterscotch liqueur during her shift. Deputies say she left work at about 2:40 a.m. and drove to her friend's house to pick up her daughter. They drove to her home in Lutz where she put her daughter in bed and went to sleep.

HCSO says that Powell woke up twice that morning to use the bathroom and change the child's diapers. At about 12:30 p.m. the next day, Powell was awoken by a witness who said the child was in the backyard pool. The toddler was transported to the hospital, but later died.

Detectives noted the pool was heavily ridden with green algae and the visibility into the pool was barely past the first step. 

They say the woman knew the sliding glass doors leading to the backyard did not properly lock and the safety pin that binds both doors together was missing for approximately one to two weeks. The bar she allegedly placed to secure the door was located in the backyard under a shovel.

A fence was created in front of the pool, but there was about a one foot gap next to the wall blocked by a small metal cage and a plastic pet carrier, both light in weight.

Investigation revealed the 3-year-old walked around the pool, fell in and drowned.

Powell says the child was unsupervised for about four and a half hours.

On May 8, Powell turned herself in and was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was later released on bond.