Mother charged in drowning death of 3-year-old daughter

- At first, it was a tragic story of a child drowning in a pool. But now, the grieving mother is charged with aggravated manslaughter in the case. Investigators say her actions likely led to the child's death.

Caitlin Powell was arrested Tuesday. The drowning happened back in March at the Lutz home she and her family were renting.

According to an arrest warrant, the night of March 10, Powell went to work at JT's Road House Bar.

At the beginning of her shift, "she took one 15mg pill of morphine which is prescribed to her by a doctor. At approximately 0000 hours, on March 11, 2018, the defendant took another half pill of morphine during that same work shift. Also during the defendant's work shift, the defendant drank four to five shots of Bailey's Irish Cream and butterscotch liqueur."

Around 2:40 a.m., the report says the 30-year-old picked up her two 3-year-olds from a friend, drove to her home on Willow Pond Drive, and went to sleep.

The report says, "the defendant woke up twice that morning to use the bathroom and to change the victim's and the witness' diapers."

Just before 12:30 p.m. March 11, the report says she was woken by one child who said Jasmine was in the pool. An hour later, Jasmine was pronounced dead.

Investigators said, "The pool was heavily ridden with green algae and the visibility into the pool was barely past the first step. The defendant knew the sliding glass doors that lead to the backyard did not properly lock, the safety pin that binds both doors together was missing for approximately one to two weeks, and the bar the defendant allegedly placed to secure the door was located in the backyard under a shovel."

The report went on to say, "there was a fence created in front of the pool however; there was an approximate one foot gap next to the exterior wall which was blocked by a small metal cage (11.5 lbs) and a plastic pet carrier (3.95 lbs) which were both light weight."

The report says the children were unsupervised for about 4 1/2 hours and that Powell "should have reasonably known her actions were likely to cause death or great bodily injury."

She turned herself in Tuesday.

A friend of Caitlyn Powell wants people to know one thing:

"All I know is she loves her kids," said Alexis, who did not want his last name to be used. "She lost a child. She loved her daughter very much."

Alexis says that Powell worked hard to care for her children and would have never intentionally put them in danger.

"And now she is being persecuted for this, she's going to jail for this, after she just had to grieve the loss of a child," Alexis said. "That just doesn't seem right to me."

Powell told Alexis to share with FOX 13 News that her daughter, Jasmine was "the light of her life" and a "daddy's girl" and that she is devastated at the loss. She is placing the blame on her landlord for the unfinished gate and is taking legal action.

Stories like these are a sad reminder of how crucial it is to secure your pool, especially if you have little ones. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages one to four, in Florida.

Daniel Leeds of Full House Babyproofing spends his days installing pool fences and advising parents how to secure their homes so their little ones can't find their way outside to the pool. He said the current standard is 4-foot-tall mesh fencing with poles every three feet that are core drilled into concrete or pavers. He also said there should be an auto latch gate so it can't be left open.

"The law states that if you were to build a pool, you need to either have a safety fence installed around that pool or you need to have door and window alarms on every door and window leading out to the pool. But, that's only on new construction," Leeds said. "It breaks your heart to hear about a death that was preventable."

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