A Bronx mother has been indicted on a manslaughter charge after she abandoned her 7-year-old daughter in a hotel pool while she went into the hotel bar to drink.
The little girl, Katlyn Pineda, was found lifeless in the Marriott Melville Long Island pool on January 13, 2022. First responders restarted her heart, but she remained in a coma on a ventilator and feeding tube until she died on May 1, 2023, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said.
Erica Baez, 41, told first responders the girl had been alone for just five minutes when in truth she left the girl alone for at least an hour while she ate and drank in the hotel bar and went upstairs to her room to check on her 5-month-old son, whom she also left alone unsupervised.
“The alleged actions of this defendant were selfish, senseless and heartless,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “We are going to do everything we can to ensure that justice is served for little Katlyn, whose short life ended too soon.”
Prosecutors said Baez, her boyfriend, and two children were staying at the Long Island hotel. While her boyfriend was at work, she allegedly asked hotel staff to open the pool gates at about 3:30 p.m. Staff say they told her at the time that there was no lifeguard on duty and that she was required to be with her daughter. But instead, she left Katlyn inside the pool gates and headed to the bar.
She ate and finished a cocktail and returned to the pool about 30 minutes later, then went upstairs to check on her son before returning to the bar for a second drink. After another 30 minutes, prosecutors said, she went back to the pool and found Katlyn in the water.
Baez removed her socks and shoes and set her phone aside before going into the water to help her daughter.
The little girl suffered “irreversible” brain damage from lack of oxygen and was in a long term care facility in New Jersey. Prosecutors said she became septic and died on May 1.
The indictment charges Baez with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Baez was arrested on Monday and made a first appearance on Tuesday, when she was ordered held without bond. Her next court date in May 24.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Featured image: Shutterstock]