Florida mom charged with manslaughter in 9-year-old son’s death

Tabatha Long was arrested and charged with the aggravated manslaughter of her son who drowned in July. Deputies say the Hillsborough County mom was drunk and high when she entered the water with her son on her back.

Tabatha Long was arrested and charged with the aggravated manslaughter of her son who drowned in July. Deputies say the Hillsborough County mom was drunk and high when she entered the water with her son on her back.

A Hillsborough County mom faces charges in connection to the death of her child, the county’s sheriff office said.

Tabatha Long, 28, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with the aggravated manslaughter of her 9-year-old son, Bentley, who drowned in July. Shortly after Long’s arrest, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference announcing the conclusion of its investigation.

“Although Bentley can no longer speak, we, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will be his voice, and today we make sure the person responsible for his death is held accountable,” Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters.

According to Chronister, deputies were called to Bullfrog Creek in Gibsonton around 2:30 p.m. July 31 where Long and several others were swimming. The first deputy arrived five minutes after the call and jumped into the water but was unable to find Bentley. A diver team eventually located the boy and he was taken to St. Joseph South where he was pronounced dead.

Long originally told investigators that her son was an OK swimmer who had gone into the creek without her permission, Chronister said. Deputies said that was a lie.

“This mother, someone who should’ve had the utmost care and responsibility for her child essentially had a complete disregard for his well-being,” Chronister said.

Bentley, it turned out, couldn’t swim, deputies said. Chronister described the water as “deep,” having a “strong” current and “hard to walk in,” with her son on her back. Bentley ended up slipping off and getting lost in the creek.

Long, who was heavily intoxicated at the time, didn’t realize Bentley had fallen off, according to the sheriff’s office. Her brother first noticed and jumped into the creek in search of his nephew.

Chronister said the mother was “too impaired to make a healthy and wise decision for her child.” Sobriety tests revealed that her blood alcohol level was .07 several hours after the drowning.

“This child is dead because of the choices that his mother made,” Chronister said.

Witness accounts eventually led deputies to arrest Long. She’s being held at a Hillsborough County jail on $15,000 bond.

C. Isaiah Smalls II is a reporter covering breaking and trending news for the Miami Herald. Previously, he worked for ESPN’s The Undefeated as part of their inaugural class of Rhoden Fellows. He is a graduate of both Columbia University and Morehouse College.





Source link