A mother is facing a manslaughter charge in the death of her 7-year-old daughter who drowned in a hotel pool on Long Island in January 2022 and died after spending more than a year in a coma.
Erica Baez, 41, has been indicted for second degree manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment, the Suffolk County District Attorney said on Tuesday.
Baez was Warned by Hotel Staff There was No Lifeguard on Duty
The charges alleged that on January 13, 2022, Baez left her child alone in a hotel pool while she was drinking cocktails at the bar. Baez was staying at the Melville Marriot Hotel along with her boyfriend, her 5-month-old son, and her 7-year-old daughter, Katlyn Pineda. Her boyfriend was at work at the time of the incident.
Around 3:30 p.m., Baez allegedly asked hotel staff to open the pool gate. Staff advised her that there was no lifeguard on duty, and that she was required to be present with her daughter at all times.
However, Baez allegedly left her daughter to sit at the hotel bar. About 30 minutes later, she returned to check on her daughter, who was still unsupervised in the pool.
Baez Also Left 5-Month-Old Alone in Hotel Room
Baez left her a second time, then went upstairs where her 5-month-old son was staying also unsupervised, before returning to the bar for a second drink.
After another 30 minutes, Baez allegedly returned to the pool and discovered her child floating lifeless in the pool. Baez removed her socks and shoes and set her phone aside before removing her daughter from the pool, according to the investigation.
When first responders arrived, Pineda was in cardiac arrest and did not have a pulse. Baez told the responders that her daughter had only been alone for five minutes.
Through CPR, they were able to successfully restart Pineda's heart, but the damage caused to her brain from lack of oxygen was irreversible. She remained dependent on a ventilator and feeding tube for the remainder of her life. Katlyn died on May 1, 2023 at a long-term care facility in New Jersey.
Baez was arraigned on Tuesday and ordered held without bail. She is due back in court on May 24, 2023.