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Toddler Dies At Daycare, Staffer Charged With Manslaughter

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Joan-Murray-600x450 Joan Murray
CBS4 Reporter Joan Murray Joan Murray is a general assignmen...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) —  A West-Miami Dade daycare staffer has been charged in the death of a 3-year old after, police say, he jumped into a pool and drowned.

Zobeida Gonzalez, 63, the mother of the business owner, was arrested Wednesday on charges of  aggravated manslaughter and child neglect with  great harm.

Gonzalez bonded out Thursday afternoon, telling cameras “I feel fine” upon bonding out.

On December 22, the parents of Jonathan Feliciano dropped him off at the day care located at 2955 NW 99th Street, leaving him  in Gonzalez’s care.

According to Miami-Dade Police, Feliciano drowned in the pool at the rear of the daycare center after he had been left alone for nearly half an hour.

Detectives said surveillance tape shows that the three-year-old was playing on the stairs of the pool for 6 minutes before getting in the water. He was underwater 23 minutes before he was discovered, per surveillance.

Gonzalez’s attorney disputes what happened.

“We intend to vigorously defend this case. The allegations that have been leveled against her that she had left the child unattended for 30 minutes are certainly not true,” said Defense Attorney Scott Egleston.” She was in fact looking all over for little Jonathan.She was searching all over the backyard. She had searched all over the driveway, in front of the house. She was frantic.”

The center itself is under scrutiny as it was not licensed to operate on weekends.

The pool however, according to CBS4′s news partner the Miami Herald, was known to the state agency that regulates daycare facilities. According to the paper, as per internal reports by the Florida Department of Children and Families, during the past two years, four separate times, an inspector had deemed the pool safe.

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