POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A Bartow woman has been arrested for the death of a 4-month-old infant.
According to deputies, 28-year-old Samantha Mariel Angeles-De La Rosa of Bartow was arrested Wednesday.
Around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday Polk County Sheriff’s deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue responded to Angeles-De La Rosa’s home where the baby was unresponsive.
“Despite their life-saving efforts, and the efforts of hospital staff, the victim was pronounced deceased at Winter Haven Hospital approximately one hour later,” officials said.
According to a news release, the baby had multiple bruises on her body, head, and face.
“(Angeles-De La Rosa) told deputies that a 21-month-old toddler in the home pulled the victim off of a changing table and onto the floor, causing the injuries that proved to be fatal. She was the only adult in the home at the time,” deputies said.
Angeles-De La Rosa continued to tell detectives that the toddler had been “rough” with the infant previously, saying the toddler would use toys to hit the baby in the face.
An autopsy revealed that the infant had a fractured skull which produced a brain bleed along with contusions on the outside of the brain.
“Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Nelson advised that such injuries were caused by blunt force trauma and could not be caused by a 2-3 foot fall onto carpet,” a news release said.
According to officials, Dr. Nelson observed two healing rib fractures and a healing fracture on the left forearm of the infant.
“Dr. Nelson advised those three fractures were older but were caused by significant force. Dr. Nelson also stated the force was not consistent with an accident and injuries were caused from intentional force. Dr. Nelson advised the cause of the victim’s death was blunt force head trauma and the manner of death is homicide,” the news release added.
After the autopsy, detectives interviewed Angeles again. During the interview, Angeles-De La Rosa told detectives that she had pulled the baby out of the car seat too forcefully, and the baby’s arm got caught in the seatbelt.
“She said one time she got mad and squeezed the victim hard around her abdomen, causing her to cry. She stated that the incidents occurred 'over the last several weeks.’ However, she continued to blame the baby’s death on the toddler pulling the baby off of a changing table,” deputies said.
While speaking with deputies, Angeles-De La Rosa admitted to being overwhelmed.
"Later in the interview she admitted that the morning of the incident, she began to change the baby’s diaper, but the baby would not stop crying and (Angeles-De La Rosa) immediately began thinking about ‘how overwhelmed she is in life,’” deputies said.
Angeles-De La Rosa told investigators that when the baby began crying, she began to cry and then “lost it in a split second.”
According to a news release, Angeles-De La Rosa grabbed the infant by the shoulders and struck the baby’s head two times against the wood frame of a changing table.
“There is absolutely no excuse to hurt a baby. We will hold this woman accountable for her actions. If anyone caring for a child is feeling overwhelmed or out of control, please seek help from family, friends, clergy, or a social services agency. Get help. If anyone has direct knowledge of anyone hurting a child, report it to your local law enforcement agency or the Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.” - Grady Judd, Sheriff
Angeles-De La Rosa was taken into custody and booked into the Polk County Jail.
She is charged with one count second-degree murder and two counts aggravated child abuse in the death of a four-month-old infant who was in her care.
According to officials, she is being held without bond until a first appearance hearing.