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Police: Florida mom strangles toddler with Halloween lights, blames it on 3-year-old son

Family says the suspect is a doting mom with no motive to kill her own child

A Florida woman who police say strangled her 18-month-old daughter with Halloween lights is reportedly blaming the toddler’s death on her 3-year-old son.

New York Daily News reports that Kristen DePasquale, 27, of Oviedo, is currently awaiting trial for the strangling death of her toddler girl, Mia. The incident took place on November 10, and since then, DePasquale has maintained she had nothing to do with her baby’s death. Instead, she’s claiming her own son, Mikey, 2 1/2 years old at the time, strangled his little sister with pumpkin lights. DePasquale said she was sleeping when it happened.

According to DePasquale’s defense attorneys, the little boy told his mother what happened prior to police arriving to their home. The boy reportedly told a child services worker the same story a few days later.

Prosecutors, however, think DePasquale is lying. According to Volusia County Medical Examiner, Marie Herrmann, a small child wouldn’t have been strong enough to leave the deep imprint found in the toddler’s neck. The medical examiner also said that the imprint was a result of at least “four to six minutes” of strangling.

Further, investigators claimed that DePasquale lied about what her activities were when the incident occurred. She first said she was in the shower, but when authorities arrived, the shower was dry. She changed her story and said she was asleep, which, according to investigators, could have been true, since she sounded groggy when she called 911.

“It was slightly after 10 p.m., and Kristen was awakened by her son, Mikey, who came in and said: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I wrapped Mia up,’” DePasquale’s lawyer, Jeff Dowdy said. “And she came out to the living room and found the child wrapped in some electrical lights.”

Sgt. Matthew DePanicis of the Oviedo PD was dispatched the home when the incident occurred. He reported that 18-month-old Mia was lying on her belly on the living room floor, with a deep imprint around her neck.  DePanicis flipped the baby over and attempted CPR, but it didn’t work. The child was already dead.

Authorities noted that DePasquale had dirty feet and makeup on her face, and decided to check her bathroom to see if her story about taking a shower was true. That’s when they realized that the suspect was likely lying to them about where she was when the incident took place. She later admitted to a social worker that she fell asleep and was afraid to tell detectives.

The children’s father, Michael Douglas Rice, is serving a 2 1/2 year prison sentence in Florida for burglary. No one else was in the home to supervise the children.

DePasquale, who worked as a waitress, had no previous arrests for violence. She’s the daughter of Seminole County Deputy John DePasquale, who said that not only is she a loving mother, but she had no motive to kill one of her children.

“What’s the motive for her to kill her child? There isn’t any. No one ever saw her being other than a great mom.”

DePasquale was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and first degree premeditated murder. In December, she was indicted by a grand jury. She pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. It’s still unclear when her trial is scheduled to start. She remains behind bars with no bond.

[Feature Photo: Facebook/Seminole County Sheriff’s Office]