Florida Mom Charged After Toddler Son Drowns in Retention Pond

A Florida mother has been charged with aggravated manslaughter and neglect of a child after her 3-year-old son left her apartment and drowned in a nearby retention pond.

The Ormond Beach Police Department said that Azriyh Santiago left his mother’s apartment early Sunday morning. He was seen on a neighbor’s surveillance video running past his door at about 6:45 a.m. and then a minute later behind the apartment, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported.

“The video shows Azriyh walking around with what appears to be a tablet with a blue case,” the police report says. “He was seen looking around and then ran directly toward the pond when the video ends.”

Myra Santiago, the boy’s mother, told police that she woke up at about 1:45 p.m. and saw that her son wasn’t in the apartment. When she started looking for him, she saw crime scene tape.

Santiago told officers that Azriyh usually comes into her room for his tablet at about 6 a.m., then goes back to his room until breakfast.

Police say Santiago made no effort to buy child safe locks even though Azriyh had escaped the apartment several times before. She told police she didn’t have the money to buy the locks, but officers said they saw more than $100 on her dresser, alongside smoking pipes and marijuana. In the freezer, they found several bottles of alcohol.

According to the police report, Santiago left her son alone in the apartment for about four hours Saturday night while she went to walk the Daytona Beach boardwalk with a friend. She allegedly messaged a neighbor on Facebook asking her to “tell the police you watched Azriyh last night … I came a got him from your place at 2 or 3.”

But the neighbor said she did not watch the boy and gave detectives screenshots of the Facebook messages.

Santiago is being held without bond.

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[Featured image: Myra Santiago/Volusia County Corrections]