Florida Parents Arrested After Their Autistic Toddler Sneaks Out of Home, Drowns in Pond While They Were Getting Stoned

Barbara Ruiz and Lester Ortiz
Barbara Ruiz and Lester Ortiz Twitter

Two Florida parents were arrested after their 3-year-old son died after being pulled from a pond, according to police.

Barbara Ruiz and Lester Ortiz have each been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the drowning death, Sanford police said, as reported by FOX 35 Orlando.

Parents Reported Child Missing After They Couldn't Find Him at Home

Around 3:14 p.m. on Saturday, Sanford police said they responded to a report of a missing autistic child at the Crosby at Towne Center apartments. The child's father told police his son went missing from the home and was last seen 30 minutes prior, police said.

The boy's mother told police at 12:40 p.m. she was in the bathroom in their apartment while their son was in the living room. She said she heard the sound of a door open and close and asked her teen daughter to check the front door, arrest records show. The teen didn't realize the child had left the home. Soon after, the child's parents began searching for him.

The parents told police their son had gone missing at least three times before and on two occasions – was found by a neighbor and brought to their apartment complex's front office.

House Reeked of Freshly Smoked 'Marijuana,' Parents were 'In a State of Disarray'

Police said the family's home had a strong odor of "freshly smoked marijuana" and was "in a state of disarray." Around 3:33 p.m., officers found the child in a nearby pond directly behind the parents' apartment. The toddler was taken to a hospital and pronounced deceased at 4:12 p.m.

Both appeared in court on Monday. Ruiz had a previous felony conviction of child abuse from earlier this year, and Ortiz had a previous conviction of theft. Because of these two previous convictions, the court denied bond for both based on probation violations.