Attorney for mother charged in daughter's death: 'There's more to the story'

Detectives arrested and charged a Lutz woman they say was sleeping while her daughter fell into the backyard pool and drowned, but her lawyer tells FOX 13 News, there's more to the story. Attorney Jared McCabe says no one should rush to judgment without having all of the facts. And right now, his team is still gathering those details.

"What we're in the process of doing is looking into all aspects... of what occurred, both civilly and criminally," said McCabe.

According to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrest report, Caitlin Powell failed to properly secure the swimming pool in the backyard of the home she rented in Lutz. 

Detectives allege the 30-year-old bartender left two of her young children unattended for more than four hours one morning in March, and her 3-year-old daughter, Jasmine Neal, fell into the water and drowned. 

The single mother is now charged with aggravated manslaughter.

Court papers outline how Powell took two doctor-prescribed morphine pills during her shift the night before, along with four or five shots of Bailey's and butterscotch liqueur.

"I anticipate more facts coming out," McCabe said.

McCabe tells us his office is looking into filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the landlords of the house Powell was renting when the drowning happened.

“There's some allegations that involve some conditions of the house, and of course those are going to be issues that we're investigating," said McCabe.

A friend says Powell had complained about those conditions in the past.

"Now that she's being persecuted for this, she's going to jail for this, after she just had to grieve the loss of a child, I don't know, that just doesn't seem right to me,” friend Alexis Ramos said.

Powell declined to do an interview with FOX 13 News. However, early Thursday morning she replied to a number of critical comments posted by readers under a Tampa Bay Times story about the case:

I am Jazzy's mom. My better judgement tells me not to reply to this article, but my heart tells me to do so. I see many people are criticizing me for being a mom whose little girl accidentally drown in the family pool. I know I am opening myself up for more torment, but I feel that people need to know I am a good person, I love my children with every breath I take. Jazzy was my youngest and I would do anything to have her back. For you all to shame me for being a single mom who was doing her best to provide for my 4 children, I can’t argue only try to share with you my love and my dedication to my children. They are my life. Jazzy is missed every minute of the day.

I am not a druggie nor an alcoholic as someone mentioned. I ONLY take medication prescribed to me. Twist it anyway you want, your words hurt, they will not bring my baby back. I will live with this everyday of my life. I would trade my life to bring Jazzy back but that isn’t possible. I must live for my other children and try to find the inner strength to be there for them. For those of you who are not condemning me I thank you. Please know that the media does not give ALL the details, nor do they have all the facts. Out of respect and for my protection I will not elaborate on facts of the case.

“Right now, legally, my client is innocent under the law. Point blank, period,” McCabe said.

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