TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Tampa mother is now facing a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of her 6-year-old daughter more than a year after her child died, Hillsborough County deputies said Monday.
Jolanda Stridiron, 39, was arrested Sunday following an investigation by the State Attorney's office that started in February 2015 when the child passed away.
Cristal Nunez, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, said the 6-year-old girl had been diagnosed previously with a condition known as Dandy Walker Syndrome, in which the brain abnormally develops.
According to Nunez, on Feb. 7, 2015, the child began complaining about severe headaches and was vomiting. Investigators said Stridiron decided not to take her daughter to the emergency room because she was worried about paying the deductible and, instead, planned to wait until a scheduled doctor's appointment the next week.
But two days later, the child died. Nunez said prosecutors determined Stridiron had been given proper training and instructions by doctors that she should have known her child needed to be treated immediately.
Nunez said prosecutors interviewed several doctors and family members before deciding to charge Stridiron with Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child.
Dr. Jay Wolfson, Professor of Public Health Medicine and Pharmacy at USF and a health law specialist, said it's clear how the State Attorney viewed Stridiron's lack of action.
"Normally you don't want to arrest a parent for the death of a child, especially a sick kid unless there is some evidence that the parent was neglectful and neglectful to the level of criminality," Wolfson said. "That it took a year for the State Attorney to act meant that they did some careful research and they looked at the history of the family and of the child. They must have looked at medical records, consulted with other physicians to determine the nature of the child's condition and what the mother did or didn't do and how the child died."
It's unclear what Stridiron's insurance situation was.
Wolfson said deductibles can be costly; under the Affordable Care Act, patients can pay up to $6,000 for an ER visit depending on their plan. He added, however, that low-income families can have the entire cost subsidized and, if the family is using Medicaid, there would be no deductible.