Authorities in Florida charged a mother with manslaughter months after her two sons reportedly scaled a locked apartment pool fence and drowned while she was sleeping.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday that Wildline Joseph, 23, was arrested on aggravated manslaughter charges in connection with the May 22 deaths of Ja’kye Joseph, 6, and Branario Minto, 5, at the Silver Palms Condominium near their home. Since then, deputies determined that she “failed to provide proper care and supervision for the brothers,” according to the Miami Herald.
The arrest announcement came days after police arrested Joseph’s boyfriend, John Lynn Jr., 25, on the same charges. Deputies said he is also “responsible for their deaths,” the news outlet reported.
Relatives reportedly said they found the unresponsive brothers at the bottom of the pool. Citing a heavily-redacted Department of Children and Families (DCF) report from June, the Herald reported that the boys scaled the fence while their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were inside the home.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Lynn is not the biological father of Minto and Ja’Kye Joseph but fathered at least one of the two other children who were living in the home.
DCF reportedly had frequent contact with the family, with the agency taking custody of Wildline Joseph’s two surviving children—a 4-month-old and 1-year-old—shortly after Minto and Ja’Kye Joseph’s deaths.
When Wildline Joseph was a child, DCF investigated six maltreatment reports involving her between 2008 and 2013. Instead of taking the young Joseph away from her mother, police referred the mother to a behavioral health provider, according to the Herald.
At some point, the two deceased children were reportedly taken away from Wildline Joseph because she was allegedly high on Flakka at the hospital where Ja’Kye Joseph was recuperating from a seizure. The children were turned over to their maternal grandmother—who was accused of mistreating Wildline Joseph years earlier.
The news outlet reported that after the hospital incident, the boys were temporarily placed in foster care after Wildline Joseph allegedly had them in their care again, watching them without supervision. She regained custody of them months later.
The agency investigated six reports of abuse or neglect involving the boys between 2015 and 2018. The Herald noted that a seventh report was filed two days before the boys’ drowning deaths.
One of the last police reports came in December 2018 and referred to a domestic violence incident involving Wildline Joseph and the father of her youngest children, in addition to the allegation that she had mental health issues. The Broward Sheriff’s Office closed the case and found that her children were safe.
Wildline Joseph and Lynn remain jailed on $250,000 bond each. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Lynn is being held without bond due to some unrelated charges against him.
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[Featured image: Ja’Kye Joseph, Branario Minto/GoFundMe]