It began in the early morning of August 30 2007. Police responded to a child-not-breathing emergency call and found Samuel Reta of Ontario CA in full cardiac arrest.
Elizabeth Reta, 27, Samuel's mother told police that she gave her 8 month-old son a bath that morning. She stated that she used a cotton swab to clean his nose because it was itching. Reta added that she didn't realize that it had been used earlier to clean out a methamphetamine pipe.
Samuel also suffered from a fractured skull, a broken and pneumonia, according to police. They did state that it is still unclear as to when he may have suffered the injuries, as they could have resulted from his mothers efforts to wake him from his seizure. Samuel remained in a coma until Friday, when he was declared dead at Loma Linda University Medical Center, according to the San Bernadino County Coroner's office.
Elizabeth was arrested Thursday and booked for investigation of felony child abuse. Her boyfriend, Juan Antonio Sanchez Jr, surrendered to police later Thursday night and was arrested on suspicion of abusing the child. Police have stated that isn't immediately known if they will face additional charges now that Samuel has died.
On Wednesday, August 29 2007, a 17 year-old mother brought her 8 month-old to the Orange County Fire Station in Apopka FL. She brought her daughter there, stating that she was now homeless and couldn't care for the girl. She stayed until her daughter fell asleep and then reportedly left in tears at approximately 4:22 am.
Florida has a "Safe Haven" law that allows a parent to leave a child, up to 3 days old,at a fire station, emergency medical center or a hospital. They can remain anonymous and will not be charged with child abandonment or face criminal charges as long as there are no signs of actual or suspected abuse.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office stated that they had found the mother in Highlands County, staying with an older sister. They also stated that detectives had interviewed her and a decision would be made if charges of abandonment will be filed against her.
It seems that there is a fair number of adults not doing much thinking. A 27 year-old mother never thought to use a new cotton swab, as in the ones out of the box, even after she knew that meth was being smoked somewhere in the vicinity of her child. She knew enough though to be able to tell authorites that it may be the cause of her son's seizure.
On the other hand, there is a 17 year-old mother, who had the sense to leave her child with adults who were prepared to care for her. Adults in Florida may charge her though, even after making a fairly good choice for someone that young, because she didn't take advantage of all the other alternatives available to a mother of a child that old. Which would those be? To move in with a drug user, endanger her child and then, find the numbers of all the other places that would have offered her help?
All I can wonder is........ is anyone thinking?