A Texas father has turned himself in weeks after his three-year-old daughter reportedly drowned in a pool at a Motel 6 in Lufkin.
KTRE reports that police have accused Rondarius Smith, 26, of “staying up all night using drugs and alcohol” before he dozed off, leaving Arianna Smith to her own devices on March 20. Arianna reportedly wandered out of the hotel room that afternoon and drowned in the pool.
“Rondarius should have been aware of the dangers of failing to secure the motel room, and supervise his child, yet he failed to act to prevent her drowning,” police wrote in a criminal complaint obtained by the news station.
Arianna, who was found at the bottom of the pool, was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest the following day, according to the Star-Telegram. Officers who responded to the scene that afternoon reportedly found the door ajar and the television blaring. A police report stated that officers had to shake the bed and yell to wake Rondarius up.
An affidavit obtained by KTRE stated that Rondarius said that he and the child’s mother had been staying at the hotel since a day prior and that the mother had left him with Arianna on the afternoon in question to run errands. He reportedly went on to tell authorities that he and his daughter were watching television when he dozed off.
Following Arianna’s death, Rondarius allegedly told police during a child protective meeting that he drank beer at a grandfather’s house the night before and had tequila shots with the child’s mother at 9 p.m., as the children slept. According to the Star-Telegram, Rondarius said he left the motel at 3 a.m. to go to a friend’s house, where he drank, snorted three or four lines of cocaine, and took a blue pill that could’ve been ecstasy.
Rondarius reportedly said that he returned back to the hotel and got his two sons ready for school at 7 a.m. and dropped them off.
Surveillance footage captured the toddler running out of the room at 4:35 p.m. and returning by 4:36 p.m. She exited the room a minute later to go to the pool, according to the news station.
The Lufkin News reported that Arianna entered the water at 4:38 p.m. and someone had rescued her by 4:48 p.m. Police said another bystander performed CPR until police arrived.
A broken gate latch reportedly allowed Arianna to gain access to the pool. Police estimated that the girl was underwater for 10 minutes and 40 seconds, the newspaper reported.
In April, Rondarius filed a lawsuit against the motel’s owners, alleging negligence in failing to have proper security and signs at the pool area.
“Defendants created an unreasonably dangerous condition on the premises by failing to take any action to protect, secure or warn plaintiff of the faulty poor security,” the petition said, according to The Lufkin News.
“These acts and omissions prevented plaintiff from having the opportunity to take simple and adequate precautions to avoid the risk of harm.”
Despite this, Rondarius is being held in the Angelina County Jail on a charge of second-degree felony injury to a child with serious bodily injury and two misdemeanor traffic warrants. Bail for the two traffic violations was set at $710. Bail hasn’t been set for the felony charge.
[Featured Image: Rondarius Smith/Lufkin Police Department]