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Authorities: Mother's neglect led to child dying in car


Published:   |   Updated: June 6, 2013 at 03:31 PM

SEBRING - While a married mother spent two hours in an air conditioned car with her boyfriend, her 18-month-old girl sweltered for that period and died from a heat stroke May 24 in a separate vehicle that didn't have the air conditioning running, according to a warrant report released Thursday.

Adriana Alicia Espinosa, 23, 3521 State Road 70, Lake Placid, was arrested on the warrant June 6 and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and neglect of a child resulting in great harm. As of press time, she remained in the Highlands County jail on $300,000 bond.

Her boyfriend, Christopher Eiland of Fort Meade, was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff's Office on a Highlands County warrant. He was charged with one count of failure to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect. Eiland, who was hired in June 12, 2012, as a detention deputy and was on probation at the time of his arrest, resigned his position, but would have been terminated otherwise, a Polk County Sheriff's Office press release said. He was released from the Polk County jail on $50,000 bond.

Those arrests came more than a week after the child, upon arriving at a hospital, had a temperature of 104 degrees, the warrant said.

Authorities concluded that the mother and the boyfriend "were more concerned with concealing the ongoing affair than the welfare of the victim," the report said.

After first claiming that her baby became sick in an air conditioned car outside of a doctor's office, Espinosa told authorities that the baby became ill in her car in a motel parking lot where she was meeting a boyfriend,, the report said.

The boyfriend told authorities that they had met at least five times previously in the motel parking lot and that some of those times they had sex.

Espinosa told authorities she initially lied because she did not want her husband to know she was meeting with another man. She also told authorities when she arrived at the motel parking lot, she gave her baby a "sippy cup of water, which she said was very warm," the warrant said.

"The suspect said the victim normally takes a nap at this time of day and she thought the victim would take her sippy cup and fall asleep," the warrant said.

The report said that before she got into her boyfriend's car, she turned the fan on in the car, but not the engine, with the result that the air was not cooled.

Espinosa told authorities that while in the boyfriend's car she would look over into the other car at her daughter "and sometimes she was crying and sometimes she was playing with her sippy cup," the report said.

When she left her boyfriend's car after an hour, she found that the baby "was foaming at the mouth and twitching," the report said. The suspect also said the victim was gasping for air.

Neither the boyfriend nor Espinosa immediately sought help because they were trying to find a way to start the mother's vehicle, apparently to cool the interior, the report said.

They also took the baby to the boyfriend's car in an attempt to cool her body, the report said.

Although the mother had claimed that she was in the car with the boyfriend before the child's death for an hour, the investigation showed the time was two hours, the report said.

"It is known the vehicle was parked on asphalt in direct sunlight during the middle of the day," the report said.

jmeisel@highlandstoday.com

(863) 386-5834

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